Are you honest with your struggles? Do you openly share with other homeschoolers when things aren’t going exactly as planned?
Sadly, I’ve found if your child wins the local spelling bee quiz, or gets 1st place in the support group science fair, you’re eager to spread the excitement with all your friends and family about those accomplishments, but are you likely to share when your 10-year old child isn’t reading? Or that you are concerned that your child may have a learning disability? Do you openly and honestly share those struggles?
Sadly, the answer isn’t always yes. After all, why open ourselves up to criticism from those who don’t understand? You may even receive well meaning advice from someone that doesn’t have a clue with what you are dealing with. The words that are intended to help may really hurt. I know. I’ve been there. After sharing many of my struggles with my own local support group, I would have mom’s approach me “privately” to ask my opinion about a certain program, only to remark that there is nothing “wrong” with their own child.
I‘d like to point out that I don’t consider anything “wrong” with my own children either. They just learn a bit differently. Over the years we’ve learned to compensate and deal with some of the issues they’ve had and though some of that meant seeking outside help, I have found resources that we were able to use at home that I’d like to recommend to other parents that may have children struggling as well.
Straight Talk Volume 1 by Marisa J. Lapish is a speech therapy program that is completed at home. I’ve lost count how many times I’ve recommended this program over the years. It’s very user friendly, has detailed instructions and comes with a DVD that shows you, the parent, exactly how to use the manual and conduct a typical lesson. At around $55, less than what we paid for an hour of speech therapy each week, if you are seeking a do-it yourself program, I’d whole heartedly suggest Straight Talk.
If you have a child that has a difficult time verbalizing their thoughts, then Straight Talk 2 may be more what you’re looking for right now.
When I found the website of Joyce Herzog nearly ten years ago I was thrilled! I’ve enjoyed several of her books but my favorite of the titles she offers would be Learning in Spite of Labels. If you think that your child may have learning disabilities, this book has some great ideas that are easily incorporated throughout your child’s studies.
She also offers several other resources that we’ve used that proved very helpful. School in a Box is available in preschool to college levels and has been a well loved resource in our house. Essentially a collection of small toys and trinkets, this intriguing box comes with a small teaching guide that shows you how to work with your children to develop various concepts and skills from language development, visual and auditory memory, math, analogies, and more. If you’d like to create your own box personalized towards your child’s interests, you may purchase the guide separately for only a couple dollars. While visiting her website be sure to check out the Mental Fitness Cards too.
In my opinion, Handwriting Without Tears is the best handwriting program available! Unfortunately, I’ve known other moms to pass up this fantastic resource because it is suggested for children who learn at a bit different pace. This program is great for all learners and if your child is going to be one that struggles, I believe this product can reduce some of those early on! (You can read reviews of Handwriting Without Tears at Curriculum Choice.)
Do you have a child that commonly reverses letters or numbers? The Ball, Stick, Bird program teaches children three basic shapes, a ball, stick and bird, essentially eliminating letter reversals that are common among dyslexic children. The stories are especially appealing to boys because the main character Vad is a space creature and they are all written in a science fiction theme. The print is large, which is important for those dealing with vision problems. You’ll find many articles and samples of this program, Ball, Stick Bird developed by Dr. Renee Fuller, who is also a dyslexic, here.
Another great resource is the Dianne Craft website. She also often speaks at homeschool conferences and if you have a chance to hear her don’t miss out! I watched her videos with friends of mine who had children struggling in public school so don’t think her products are just for homeschooling families. If they help you, suggest them to everyone! Make sure you read the articles she has posted on her website. We’ve used the Right Brain Phonics program with sight word cards and The Brain Integration Therapy Manual.
Other resources I’d like to mention:
A Must Read! Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World: Unlocking the Potential of Your Add Child by Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons.
The Gift of Dyslexia: Why Some of the Smartest People Can’t Read… and How They Can Learn by Ronald D. Davis really helped me to realize how my boys think. I’m convinced that many children, not just dyslexics could benefit from some of the exercises in this book.
Like the above book, The Gift of Learning uses many of the same concepts to help children that struggle with math and handwriting. Again, I believe the concepts taught in this book would benefit many children.
Home Schooling Children with Special Needs (3rd Edition) by Sharon C. Hensley is another helpful book full of practical ideas.
Heads Up Now! is a great resource for those with children affected by ADD/ADHD, Autism, Asperger’s, Sensory issues, speech problems, social issues, and much more. I’ve purchased several items from them including, Seeing Clearly, a small book full of fun and practical ideas to improve your vision skills.
Dragon Naturally Speaking is helpful for children that can communicate effectively but have a hard time when it comes to capturing and writing their thoughts on paper. This voice recognition software does all the thinking and typing for your child taking all the frustration out of misspellings and poor handwriting. You can view a demo of this product here.
I guess this post has grown beyond what I’d planned and I know there is a lot that I haven’t covered. If you have a resource that you’ve found helpful in your own homeschooling experience, why not leave a comment with the name or link so we can all stop by and have a look for ourselves?
Tonya is now thankful for the struggles she encountered early on with her children. It has taught them to persevere, be diligent and to empathize with those facing struggles of their own. You can read more about Tonya’s family at Live the Adventure.