By Peggy Ployhar

As humans we instinctively know we need to pray.  When tragedy strikes we ask for prayer, we gather to grieve and cry out, and our hearts seek healing from beyond what we can see, feel, and touch.  But, the biggest tragedy is that we don’t practice praying much when things are going well in our lives. We forget we have needs and large voids we can’t fill on our own.  The biggest void I could not fill through my own self-determination was the one created by the damage my parenting anger had created in my own life and in my relationships with my children.

 

 

 

A Spiritual Battle

Parenting anger at its core is a spiritual battle, and therefore prayer is fundamental to changing parenting anger and bringing about healing, in both the parent and the child. Prayer alone brought forth this healing in my life.  How? By ushering forgiveness and restoration to places grace alone could reach.

 

 

 

 

 

Prayer is about asking, but it is more than that.  It is also about seeking something greater and desiring for it to come into our lives and change our nature; the nature which often brings us to the place where we realize our need for forgiveness and healing.  And, prayer is about submitting to that change by pursuing it with tenacity rather than pursuing our natural inclinations or good intentions.

 

 

 

 

A Plea for Change

When I decided in my heart that I no longer wanted to live with the rages I often experienced, I started to pray for God to change my heart and to heal my relationships with my children with more vigor than I ever had before.  My prayers went from “stop this” to “change me.”

 

Change was slow, but every time God revealed a new lesson I then prayed for His help to heal me, change me, and restore me.  When I backslid in carrying out this new lesson, I sought out His forgiveness as well as the forgiveness of my children, and we prayed together for God to help us accept His grace and do better the next time. I also started to make it a point to pray with my children when they met with failure in their own battles.

 

 

 

Fundamental to Change

Prayer was fundamental in keeping us moving forward, in giving us the strength to keep going on, to accepting our imperfect natures, and in realizing all the more our need for a Savior and a constant help as we navigated life with a desire to become less angry and hurt and more loving and compassionate—more like our heavenly Father.

 

When I started this series on parenting anger, I never could have imagined this process would take so long to complete and I would have so much to share.  If this is the first article in this series you have read, I would highly recommend you go back to the beginning and digest each article one at a time. Savor the wisdom God shared with me as I healed through my own struggle and allow the lessons to go not just to your head, but also your heart.

 

 

 

My prayer for you is that you don’t give up, on yourself or your children.  The struggle to change and grow in this ability is worth the battle, and the best part is that God will be fighting right alongside you all the way.

 

Please follow and like us:

By Peggy Ployhar

A few weeks ago as I was interviewing Andrew Pudewa on our weekly Facebook live broadcast, SPED Homeschool Conversations, I made a comment about the process I used to successfully teach my own son how to write using IEW’s (The Institute for Excellence in Writing) program. Slow and steady was my response. You can watch that interview here on our Facebook page, watch the long videos or shorter videos taken from that interview on our YouTube channel, or listen to the podcast at this link.

 

In this article, I wanted to expand upon my answer and explain not only how to homeschool slow and steady and how it led to educational successes for my own children, as well a how it can lead to success in your own homeschool.

 

 

Pressure to Succeed
Too often I speak to parents who are extremely anxious about getting their child caught up with a typical learning or developmental timeline. There is so much pressure in the educational community, including homeschooling circles, to press children towards measurable success. Unfortunately, this pressure can have parents focused on college readiness while their kindergartner is still learning numbers and letters.

 

Having now homeschooled for over 16 years and graduated 2 struggling learners I find myself looking back and realizing how much of this pressure I allowed to side-track our homeschooling. If I were to be honest, my “progress panic attacks” caused as many problems as my children’s learning issues and defiant outbursts.

 

 

Progress Instead of Pressure
In hindsight, I realized when I let external pressure take control of my teaching, I was least effective in homeschooling. On the other hand, when I kept my nose down and stopped looking at what we weren’t doing and how far we were away from where I wanted my children to be, progress was evident.

 

Now, I have to admit I didn’t always see a measurable product of my efforts when homeschooling slow and steady. We just kept moving forward at a steady pace gauged to match the speed each child was learning. Many days it seemed like we were just going through the motions, repeating things WAY too much, and moving so slowly that no progress was happening. But, that is the essence of teaching slow and steady; it grasps being in the moment and teaching what needs teaching now, not tomorrow.

 

 

5 Tips for Keeping Your Homeschooling Slow and Steady
If you struggle with homeschooling at a slow and steady pace, here are my 5 tips to keep you teaching in the moment towards homeschooling success:

 

1 – Create a General Plan
Make a learning plan not constrained by dates. Instead, focus on learning goals and steps that progress towards those goals. Many parents find it helpful to write a homeschool IEP for their student with regular assessment intervals – monthly or quarterly is best for measuring notable progress.

If you are interested in writing your own IEP, check out these other great articles on our website:
4 Things to Prepare Before Writing Your Child’s IEP
How to Write IEP Goals and Objectives
Writing an IEP: Accommodations and Modifications
How to Track IEP Goals

 

2 – Teach According to Your Plan
This may sound simple, but sticking to the plan is one of the most difficult steps if you are like me and panic gets you off track. One day at a time, nose down, and determined to not get off track is the way to stay consistent.

 

3 – Don’t Accelerate Faster Than Your Student
Moving too fast actually makes learning take longer. Progress takes time and moving at the pace of your student will ensure your child is absorbing the lessons you are taking the time to teach and integrating those lessons into their long-term memory for better recall when those facts need to be used for more complex processes.

 

4 – Take Frustration Breaks
If frustration sets in, take a step back to re-evaluate. Don’t blame yourself or your child, these breaks are natural. Sometimes you will need to switch tracks on how you are teaching a subject if your student has a learning block. Other times you both need some time away from that subject altogether. If neither of those methods works, then it may indicate you need to seek out help from a professional. But stepping back is essential in determining which course of action is the best for your situation.

 

5 – Remember to Not Compare
No matter what learning pattern is set by other children in your household, your friends’ children, or any “normal” developmental timeline, your child is unique; and therefore, your child’s progress will be unique. This is true whether or not a child has been diagnosed with a learning disability. All children learn in spurts and stall out at times, this is natural. By not comparing one child to another, you allow your child to learn and grow at the pace that best suits your child’s level of learning progression.

 

 

Evidence Worth the Wait
In that same conversation I was having with Andrew Pudewa, I confessed we used his curriculum with my oldest son, but this same son never wrote a paper for me in the entirety of his homeschooling career. Each day we did the writing lesson, went through the steps, learned the process, and slowly and steadily I taught him the mechanics of good writing. After graduating high school this same son would text and email me while he was away studying at welding school, but he still never wrote a paper. Then, when he started college just after turning 18 he started writing beautiful papers and getting A’s in his college English classes. That was when it became evident to me that he had learned the process of writing because I had taught him slowly and steadily using a system that worked. It just took him time to use what he had learned and produce a product that showed the process had worked.

 

I pray as you look to the new year and set goals for your teaching and homeschooling, as well as for the individual progress for each of your children, that you will conquer any anxiety or fear you may have about the future by following the steps I have outlined above.

 

Do you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded?

Donate today

(all donations are tax-deductible)


 

Please follow and like us:


By Peggy Ployhar

Over the years of working through my parenting anger issues, the biggest lesson I have learned about myself is my natural tendency to want to always be in control. I have talked about letting go of control in many areas of parenting throughout this series; control of my children’s character development, as well as my parenting approach in respect to my use of authority, of conveying acceptance, in providing forgiveness, and with my desire to restore honor. The final, and most deceptively hidden, area I needed to surrender my need to over control as a parent was time management.

 

Finding Balance in Time Management
Controlling every single moment of every single day in my children’s lives was not healthy. Plus, if my goal was to help my children learn the skill of managing their time effectively they needed opportunities to practice. Opportunities I was denying them by always micro-managing their schedules.

 

My blindness to my overly controlling approach towards my children’s schedules was aided by the fact that all my children deal with varying degrees of executive functioning deficits. These deficits limit their natural abilities to quickly and efficiently schedule, plan, and organize themselves. So, as a mother who is naturally gifted in this area, it was easy to just step in and take over these responsibilities for my children instead of letting go and teaching them to take ownership for their own use of time.

 

For any parent of a struggling child, the tendency to overcompensate and take control is a constant battle. On one hand you desire for your child to learn and grow, but on the other hand the pain this struggle causes your child and often your own self (extra messes to clean up, extended length in completing tasks, etc.) is much more easily alleviated by stepping in. How then is a parent to win over this desire to control while still keeping a child on track? The answer is balance.

 

A balanced time-management approach involves evaluating three things: your child, your approach, your tools. Looking at these three areas and then determining a balanced plan on how to appropriately give your child the help needed to get through a regular schedule while developing time management skills of their own along the way.

 

Your Child
Understanding the true capability if your child to manage time is critical when figuring out how much this child can manage realistically without your help. Have you ever done a critical analysis of how well your child can break down a larger task into a checklist of smaller parts to complete the whole project?

 

One easy way to figure out your child’s executive functioning capability is to test it by asking your child to do a task which requires multiple steps. I would suggest doing this test with different types of tasks because children often have a greater ability to focus and plan when they are interested in the task (like building a Lego set) than they do when they are disinterested in a task, like cleaning the bathroom.

 

If you have an older student, you can also use this free time management quiz. The quiz has 15 simple questions your student can answer, and then the website provides ideas for goal setting based on the deficiencies revealed by the quiz.

 

Your Approach
Now that you know what skills your child has for managing his own time, and which ones you need to help teach for greater mastery, you should develop a strategy for teaching time management skills. Here are some website with great resources on helping kids with mild time management issues, moderate executive functioning issues, or even more severely limited scheduling abilities.

 

Mild Time Management Strategies
11 Easy Tips for Teaching Your Kids Time Management
The Age-By-Age Guide to Teaching Kids Time Management
6 Ways to Teach Time Management Skills

Moderate Executive Functioning Strategies

Graphic Organizers from the Learning Disabilities Foundation of America
Helping Kids Who Struggle with Executive Functioning
10 Frightfully Useful Tips from Executive Functioning Coaches
5 Must-Have Apps for Improving Executive Functioning in Children

 

Strategies for Students with Severely Limited Scheduling Abilities
Tactile Schedules for Students with Visual Impairments and Multiple Disabilities
8 Types of Visual Student Schedules
Object Schedule Systems
Free Printable Visual Schedules


Your Tools

Based on how much help your child needs and what approach you feel would best help in teaching better time management, you can now start putting together your tools. The various articles above are filled with everything from digital tools to very hands-on physical tools.

 

For our family, we did a lot of visual schedules on a huge blackboard in our kitchen when our children were very young. We supplemented that schedule with daily conversations about upcoming activities and plans to ensure our children remembered what lay ahead and weren’t surprised when we had something planned that didn’t fit into our normal routine. But, as our children grew older those schedules moved to student planners, apps, and shared documents along with the daily conversations.

 

Knowledge has great power. In my experience with letting go of controlling my children, knowing more about the type of help they needed and when I was becoming overly controlling greatly helped with restoring a proper parent-child relationship in our home.

 

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Donate today

(all donations are tax-deductible)

 

Please follow and like us:


By Peggy Ployhar

When our family started our homeschooling journey it was because of the needs of my oldest child. In no way was I prepared or equipped to handle teaching my son who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome only the month prior, nor did I fully understand how severe his depression was, but I knew in my heart keeping him home to learn would keep my son from slipping any further away from me than he already had in his 8 months while attending private school.

Watch our story here.


This journey started 17 years ago for our family and through it, our entire family has dramatically changed. I would say for the better. Homeschooling is a hard road, but homeschooling a child with extra learning, emotional, social, and behavioral needs is also often an isolating and lonely journey. Some families are able to push through this isolation and build a small support community, but for others, the needs of their child(ren) create barriers too large to overcome on their own.

 

 

Opportunity Complications
As I described in the video above, our family created our own support and many families can create their own tribe if they dedicate a good amount of time and energy to the task. But for families who homeschool children with a more complicated diagnosis or family dynamics, the solution for finding time to rest and opportunities to do activities and develop relationships are not as simple as pulling a few families together to create community. Instead, these families must rely on someone else to do the support legwork for them. Otherwise, they just continue the journey alone as best they can.

 

I would like to introduce you two homeschooling families who have been part of SPED Homeschool since we launched our nonprofit in 2017. SPED Homeschool board member Elaine Carmichael and SPED Homeschool team member Shanel Tarrant-Simone. Both of these hard-working homeschooling parents are mothers of boys on the more complicated end of the autism spectrum.

 

Elaine shares her story here about how after homeschooling her typical children for many years in a loving and nurturing co-op, her support system crumbled as her youngest son’s needs grew greater.


Further on in this same interview, Elaine also shared that even though her son just turned 18 this past year, there really is no place for her family to turn for the respite and help; respite she and her husband need and buddy opportunities so her son can have experiences similar to other kids and young adults his age. 
 


When I emailed Elaine last week to ask her some questions about the hurdles they face with integrating into their community and what it would mean to her family and her son Aaron to have reliable respite and buddy opportunities, here is how she answered my questions:


Q: How difficult is going out in public with Aaron? What roadblocks are a constant hindrance?

A: “Roadblocks are sights & sounds that overwhelm Aaron which most of us take for granted because they don’t bother us or we can ignore them.”

Q: In what ways does bringing Aaron out in public without help hinder your family’s ability to integrate into society?

A: “Having an extra set of hands can be a tremendous help. Aaron will try to run if he is uncomfortable with a situation.”

Q: How could having a consistent, trained, and caring buddy/helper for Aaron improve your family’s ability to participate in your community?

A: “It would be helpful to have “buddies” to come alongside us to allow us to go to dr appts, date nights, to a Bible class together, or both be able to be involved with choir & music rehearsals and worship services at the same time. Those are just a few. Maybe even be able to attend activities of our older children and granddaughter, knowing Aaron was enjoying good company.”


Q: Why did you choose to homeschool despite knowing the school could have helped provide some respite or buddy opportunities for you and Aaron?

A: “We continued homeschooling Aaron after his siblings graduated from homeschool. We felt it was still a calling God has given us. We had also heard many stories of the struggles families had with public schooling their special needs kids.”

 

Q: What else would you share with families/individuals about the advantages of homeschooling Aaron?
A: “We have the advantage of setting our own schedule, especially with dr appts and therapies taking time in a day. We can work around our son’s poor sleep schedule. We don’t have to concern with bullying or teachers who don’t understand Aaron’s needs.”

 

In the same way, but with even greater demands upon her time and resources, SPED Homeschool team member Shanel has raised and homeschooled her nonverbal autistic twin sons as a single mother. Shanel deals with similar issues as Elaine in caring for her boys who also just recently turned 18, but an added stress to her life is the sad truth that as a single-parent she often walks this road almost completely alone.


Opportunity Possibilities
SPED Homeschool understands a special needs homeschooling family’s need for respite and opportunities intimately because we have experienced those same needs within most of our own family’s homeschooling journeys. It breaks our hearts every time we have a new member join our Facebook support group asking for help in connecting them to local resources and not having anywhere to send them.


But we are not satisfied with providing just an online support for these families we have a heart to serve. We instead want to meet their greater needs and develop local support groups in communities throughout the United States through a program we are calling SPED Strong Tribes. These tribes will focus on filling 5 basic needs: togetherness, respite, opportunities, networking, and growth. Each of these components are being covered in blogs this week before our campaign to increase awareness of the essential nature of each in supporting special needs homeschooling families.

 

To learn more about the SPED Strong Tribes campaign and how you can help build stronger special education homeschooling families by partnering with us in this campaign, click here.

 

We have also created this simple video to explain the whole program. 

Thank you for sharing this information and partnering with us to help our isolated families get the respite and opportunities they so greatly desire and need.

For more information on the five basic foundations we will be building into our new SPED Strong Tribes, check out all the blogs in this series:
Homeschooling Families Strengthened by Togetherness
Homeschooling Families Strengthened by Respite and Opportunities
Homeschooling Families Strengthened by Networking
Homeschooling Families Strengthened by Growth

 

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Donate today

(all donations are tax-deductible)

 

Please follow and like us:


By Peggy Ployhar
 

In restoring relationships with my children after the healing process began with my parenting anger issues, the primary focus of my actions concentrated on being worthy of their honor. Asking their forgiveness was only the first step in this process. The rest of the wide divide my anger had created between myself and my children required more than lip-service, it required action. And, my actions needed to show my heart was changing and willing to take responsibility for the effects of my post-anger aftermath.



An Act of Kindness
How did I do that? Well, it started slowly, but began with a new something in our house called a “re-honor job.” I took it upon myself to be the first to take on these “jobs.” Through them, I demonstrated these jobs were a means for restoring broken relationships. And having done more than my fair share of destruction, due to my parenting anger episodes, I realized it was up to me to start the restoration process.

 

Every time I did something to dishonor a child, I followed up with asking forgiveness and doing a “re-honor job,” a physical act of kindness. This physical act worked as a bridge to start spanning the gulf created by the many years of inappropriate actions taken towards my children. As I learned to let go of my anger and harness it properly, as well as use these “re-honor jobs” to start repairing relationships, I also started incorporating these “jobs” in my child training, to ensure even the smallest relational fractures were repaired within our home.


An Example

I will provide you with a scenario to illustrate how these “jobs” worked into our family life and child training. The following scenario played itself out many times in our early years of homeschooling. In general, this is how it went:

 

Boys will be boys.  If you have boys, more than likely they fight as much as mine did. It really didn’t matter what the fight was about, but one would say or do something to get the other riled, and a fight would ensue. 

My general policy was not to get involved in my children’s fights. But, when the outcome was not being worked out on their own accord (or there was the potential of blood being drawn), I stepped in.  Usually, my intrusion was only long enough to bring them into the kitchen, assign them each a chair, and remind them not to leave their chairs until they’d forgiven one another.
 

Sometimes they followed (even begrudgingly was fine with me), but if not, they knew I would bring it up later, so often my wishes were followed without complaint. Once in the kitchen, and after making sure they were settled, I would give them my reminder and take my leave. Now, I didn’t go very far…just another room where I was within ear-shot, but out of their line-of-sight.

Depending on the day, and their attitudes, my boys would either agree to forgive one another immediately, or they would start a very long and drawn out shouting battle across the kitchen. Either way, at the end of their dialogue, the two would agree to forgive one another and call me into the room to let me know they’d settled their argument.
 

Now, I must point out that, if a child got out of his chair during the process of working out his differences with his brother, he knew this was an issue he would have to take up with me afterward, which I will explain in just a moment.
 

At the point peace was declared and I was beckoned into the kitchen, if one or both had not followed me to the kitchen without a fight or if anyone had gotten up from their assigned chair before receiving permission to leave, I would ask that child(ren) if they were also willing to ask my forgiveness for their disobedience towards me. Additionally, if I had lost my cool during any point of the process, I made sure to also ask forgiveness. 
 

After forgiveness was given at the kitchen level, we took it to a higher house and prayed together asking God to forgive and restore. And then we did “re-honor jobs.”


An Opportunity

These jobs were to be physical manifestations of our desire to restore the relationships our actions had damaged. Often the boys would do a small chore or clean up something for their brother. On the other hand, if the re-honor job was directed at me, they would usually do something I normally did around the house. And, if I was re-honoring a child(ren) then I did a chore(s) to restore the honor I had compromised with my son(s).

 

What our family learned through these exercises over the years was it has never become easy to re-honor someone. Saying “Sorry” or “Please forgive me” can become meaningless words, but physically honoring another person requires us to bow our lives during each act of kindness to serve that person and elevate them above ourselves. And, with that bow, healing and restoration happen and the sin which compromised that relationship is snuffed out by love.
 

When we honor another person, we put ourselves into a submissive position which says, “I have chosen to place you ahead of my own desires and will.”


An Established Pattern

Honor is a tricky thing in relationships – it needs to be earned, but it also needs to be maintained. I pray that if you are in the process of healing the relationships in your family because of your own struggles with parenting anger that you work to re-establish honor starting with yourself and then work the concept into your child training process. 

Honor truly is a key element to cultivating your child’s heart for instruction and it comes through living out forgiveness by purposefully building in acts of kindness, or “re-honoring jobs”, into your training.

Parenting Anger Series Articles:
Why We Should Be Talking About Parenting Anger 
Parenting Anger Demystified
The Parenting Anger Escape Door
Shifting Parenting Anger from Controlling Mode to Training Mode
How-To Effectively Instill Godly Character in Children Using Parenting Anger 
Integrity: Step 1 in Cultivating a Child’s Heart for Instruction
Humble Authority: Step 2 in Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction
Unconditional Acceptance:  Step 3 in Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction 
Forgiveness & Mercy: Step 4 in Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction
Honor: Step 5 in Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction
Time Management: Step 6 In Cultivating Your Child’s Heart for Instruction

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Your contributions keep our ministry running! 

Donate today on GuideStar

(all donations are tax-deductible)

Did you enjoy this article?

React, share, and comment with the tools below




Please follow and like us:


By Peggy Ployhar

Most teens outgrow the therapy model at some point in their junior high or high school years. Transferring ownership for continued growth in these therapeutic areas is a key element to ensuring that your student doesn’t stop working on new skills or practicing ones already mastered in a traditional therapy program. To accommodate your student’s desire for independence, this transitioning process requires your child to adopt regular activities which will assimilate therapy work into his or her normal routines.

 

Here are some ways your teen can continue working on occupational, physical, social, and speech therapy goals without going to regular therapy.

 

Speech Therapy Ideas:
Read out loud
Order food at a restaurant
Ask for directions
Sing
Memorize jokes and then tell them to others
Story telling
Make videos or voice recordings


Occupational Therapy Ideas:
Cooking
Yard Work
House Maintenance
Auto Repair
Assemble Purchases (“Some assembly required”)

Laundry
House Cleaning
Gardening

 

Physical Therapy Ideas:
Martial arts
Swimming
Golf
Tennis
Rollerblading
Ice skating
Biking
Running
Walking

 

Social Skill Therapy Ideas:
Join a club or special interest group
Participate in a local event as a volunteer
Be a mother’s helper
Volunteer at church
Start conversations with vendors at your county or state fair
Participate in 4H
Join a book cub

 

I am sure you can think of many more great ideas, and we would love for you to share them with our community by commenting below or on our social media shares of this article.

 

If you are looking for more resources for homeschooling your teen through high school, make sure to check out these other resources on our website:

 

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Donate Today

(all donations are tax-deductible)

Please follow and like us:


By Peggy Ployhar

Understanding your child’s rate of progress, possible learning deficiencies, or level of mastery in a specific subject can go a long way when homeschooling a struggling learner. The free online assessment tools listed in this article are meant to help you in those areas as you teach your child and help your student find learning success.

 

In no way are these resources a substitution for seeking professional advice. Assessments administered by a parent should not be used to diagnosis a student, but rather as an indicator that your child may need professional assistance as part of his/her educational plan.

 

It is our goal at SPED Homeschool to help students succeed in parent-directed special education homeschool, and I hope you find these assessment tools helpful to that end.

 

General Assessments:

Easy CBM Assessment Tool
LD Info Parent Administered Cognitive Processing Inventory
National Institute for Direction Instruction Placement Tests shared by Shanel Tarrant-Simone, SPED Homeschool Team Member and owner of Spectrum Parent Consulting
K5 Learning Assessments
HSLDA Struggling Learner Checklists shared by Faith Berens, HSLDA Struggling Learner Consultant
ADDitudue Self-Tests(Self tests for the most popular learning disabilities and psychological issues)


Reading Assessments:


General:

National Right to Read Foundation Competency Test
University of Oregon Dynamic Inventory of Basic Early Literacy Skills
Orton-Gillingham PDF Free Assessment Test
Sonlight Language Arts Assessment

 

Grammar:
Laureate Syntax Assessment
Quill Grammar Diagnostic Test shared by Kathryn Grogg, Grogg Educational Consulting

 

Dyslexia:
Davis Dyslexia Screening Assessment shared by Beverly Parrish, Learn Your Way
Dynaread Dyslexia Test
Learning Success Dyslexia Test
Lexercise Dyslexia Test
Nessy Dyslexia Test (5-7 years)
All About Learning Dyslexia Screening Checklist shared by D.M. Spence, SPED Homeschool Team Member and private homeschooling consultant

 

Reading:
Diane Craft Word Recognition Placement Test
Dianne Craft Right Brained Reader Placement Test
Sonlight Reading Assessment
National Institute for Direction Instruction Corrective Reading Tests shared by Shanel Tarrant-Simone, SPED Homeschool Team Member and owner of Spectrum Parent Consulting

 

Math Assessments:

General:
Touch Math Placement Assessments shared by D.M. Spence, SPED Homeschool Team Member and private homeschooling consultant
Little Giant Steps Math Proficiency Assessment
Little Giant Steps Math Facts Assessment
Math-U-See Readiness Assessment
Singapore Math Placement Assessments
Horizons Math Readiness Evaluations
Math Mammoth Placement Assessments shared by Kathryn Grogg, Grogg Educational Consulting
Saxon Math Placement Assessment shared by Kathy Kuhl, Learn Differently
 
Dyscalculia:
Learning Success Dyscalculia Assessment


Various Other Assessments
:

Auditory Processing:
Little Giant Steps Auditory Processing Test Kit

 

Functional/Educational Vision:
See Ability Functional Visual Assessment
Eye Can Learn Vision Based Learning Assessment

 

Speech Articulation:
Mommy Speech Therapy Articulation Screener

Psychological Screening Tools:

Healthy Place Psychological Tests
ADDitudue Self-Tests(Self tests for the most popular learning disabilities and psychological issues)

 

Handwriting:
Learning Without Tears Screener of Handwriting Proficiency shared by D.M. Spence, SPED Homeschool Team Member and private homeschooling consultant
Learning Without Tears Pre-K Handwriting Assessment shared by D.M. Spence, SPED Homeschool Team Member and private homeschooling consultant

 

Do you have any other free tools you use to assess your homeschooled struggling learner? We would love to have you share your links and reviews in the comment section below. The more resources we can share with one another, the more equipped our community will be to successfully homeschool each of our unique children. Thanks for being part of our community and for sharing!

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Donate Today

(all donations are tax-deductible)

Please follow and like us:

By Jill Camacho

When your struggles seem to never end…

Talking with hundreds of moms online each month, one of the most common heartbreaks I see lies in having no hope. It’s a tough thing to bear when your daily struggles of life have no foreseeable end. It reminds me of Proverbs 13:12 ESV; “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.

As a newer mom, I wrestled with tunnel vision and hopelessness. My circumstances were truly difficult, but they weren’t forever. The thing is, it was so easy to live life (and treat others) as though it was. Looking back, I believe the way I was handling my problems made my heart sick, as well as poisoned those around me.


Time changes all things

Looking back at all the difficult phases in our life, they’ve all ended. Even when it seemed like, in the moment, we’d never see a reprieve. If you’re feeling this way in your life, or in your homeschool, please take heart! All things change, ebb, and flow.

If you’re feeling like your child will never, for example, learn to sit still, stay calm, or read simple words (anything really), you’re not alone. Feeling that way is normal. Feeling sad is natural when hope is floating farther and farther away.



We have hope
But we have hope in Jesus. He knows how we feel, and he will redeem every bad situation. We may not know if each redemption is on this side of Heaven or not, but we do have hope.

What helps me in these situations is switching my perspective. I do this by actively remembering our past struggles. I remember how certain situations felt as though they may never end, compared to how long ago they now feel. “What was it God taught me in those seasons?” I ask myself.

I try and think of what I can learn now and pray, asking God for peace and to help me lay things down. I pray for eyes to see all the blessings He’s given me and for faith that helps me weather the storms through weary days. In addition to these things, I seek support!

These are all things you may want to try too! Don’t minimize your issues by telling yourself they are “not as bad as other people’s problems.” Leaving sadness and hopelessness unaddressed isn’t healthy. Find a supportive ear or two (whether in person or an online support group) and consider counseling with a therapist or trusted church staff member if you suspect it’s needed. Therapy has been some of the greatest help I’ve had!

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Your contributions keep our ministry running! 

Donate today on GuideStar

(all donations are tax-deductible)

Did you enjoy this article?

React, share, and comment with the tools below

Please follow and like us:


By Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP

God is so good—and so amazing! In Jeremiah 30:17, He says, “I will restore your health and heal you of all your wounds.” He is vitally interested in our health and, more importantly, in our children’s health and abilities. He has made many provisions for us.
 
When I was a Special Education teacher, working in the pull-out Resource Room in the public schools, I learned about God’s goodness. I experienced how much my students were struggling with their disabilities: reading reversals, severe auditory processing problems that caused phonics rules not to stick, little writing ability, and difficulty with comprehension. I asked God to show me what to do for these wonderful students. These hard-working students had been in special education pull-out classes for years, and had terrific parents and good teachers, but had made very little progress in their skills over the years.


God answered my prayers in a very interesting and dynamic way: I soon received a postcard from another Special Education teacher, Paul Dennison, Ph.D. He was offering workshops to show his fellow special education teachers a method he was using that was helping relieve his student’s learning disabilities. He used specific midline therapy that could easily be incorporated in the classroom setting, right along with their daily lessons. I was thrilled and began saving my money to attend some of these workshops (a thousand dollars at that time).



God’s Brain Efficiency
In those workshops, I learned so much about how the brain works when learning new material.


The Brain is designed to learn new things and to store the old without effort. (Remember that little song about friends? “Make new friends but keep the old…one is silver and the other gold”. That is how the brain works.)

Have you ever stopped and thought, “I wonder if I brushed my teeth this morning?” You don’t even remember doing it. Why? Because it was what we call an “unconscious” movement. You didn’t have to “think” about it, because it was automatic. That is how “God’s Efficient Brain System” works. When we learn something new, we use our “thinking brain” to concentrate on the task. After a little while, it crosses the midline of the brain and is transferred to the brain’s storage unit, the “automatic” brain hemisphere, for easy access. The same action occurs when we learn to ride a bike or drive a car. At first, we concentrate on it (the left brain’s responsibility), and then it becomes automatic (the right brain’s responsibility). 


Disconnections
How did this affect my students’ learning difficulties? I realized that all the processes of learning, like tracking the eyes from left to right while reading, had not transferred to their “automatic” brain hemisphere. They were still having to use energy to “think” about their eye movements. They often looked at a “b” and had to decide (think about) if the letter they were looking at was a “d” instead. I discovered that learning in general, was not transferring to their automatic hemisphere, and thus often seemed to be “new information” every day. How could we make more connections, so that the learning could be stored in the long-term memory storage unit?

In the workshops, I attended those many years ago (20 years), I learned that God had set up the brain so that we could use specific movements that crossed the midline of the body to repair the disconnections and restore the connections in my students. This was a huge break-through in thinking, for me, as a teacher.
 
I began using these specific midline movements, I called Brain Integration Therapy, with my students daily before we started our lessons. It was a good “warm-up” session and was a nice start to the day. As I did these exercises daily, I noticed fewer reading and writing reversals in my students. The quick, easy daily midline writing exercise was quickly improving their spacing, and writing fluency immensely. I did not see as much change in the auditory processing and memory with the students, however.

I decided to go back for more training in midline therapy to see if I could make learning easier for my students with moderate and severe auditory processing problems (remembering names of letters, or sight words, or phonemes, or understand verbal information, etc.) It was in those more advanced workshops that I discovered the “key” to quickly creating the pathway from the “thinking” hemisphere to the “automatic” brain hemisphere. 


The Eyes Have It
I learned the powerful role of the eyes in accessing different parts of the brain. I learned that brain scans revealed that when the eyes look upper left, the right brain is activated. Since the right brain hemisphere is the “automatic” brain hemisphere, I found that I could much more rapidly create a strong pathway to the automatic brain hemisphere by adding another technique to the midline exercises. Once a week, I found I could activate the right brain to “take over” the process of eye tracking, or whatever area we were working on, by having the child do the activity that was not automatic, and then having them look upper left while doing the crossing the body movement we call the cross crawl. I did this with them. We did this movement for about a minute or so. I also used music to further activate the automatic brain hemisphere for this process. The results were amazing.

Using this once a week “Specific Brain Training”, I saw changes rapidly. As one of my students, Casey said, “I can remember the names of all my teachers now.” Delores, another eighth-grade student said, “I can understand what I hear. I don’t always have to say, ‘what’, anymore.” I saw rapid changes in how they were processing auditory information. All skills took a huge leap forward. They were so noticeable that parents came in to ask what we were doing. Even my special education teaching partner across the hall, Anna Alvarado, asked me if I would show her what I was doing because she was noticing such a difference in these same students when they came to her class for math. We became partners in our shared learning curve. In fact, at the end of the year, we had quite a few students who could “staff out” of special education (and only be monitored) because of the leaps in learning they had made. Soon I was asked to give “teacher in-service” workshops to our school, and then the surrounding schools, and then state-wide, etc. Now, there are many more “midline therapy” resources available in addition to the one I used. (See the list below for these resources).


A Teaching Revelation
I soon realized that I could affect the processing abilities of my students by helping them with daily exercises and the all-important once a week Specific Brain Trainings. These results often showed in their WISC-IV cognitive testing by the psychologist. However, I learned that the midline therapy did not teach them the skills they needed to make leaps in learning. I saw my students each day for classes in reading, writing, and math. I realized that I needed to teach them in a totally different way if I was going to see the progress I was looking for.

That is when I developed and used the “Healing Teaching” method. My students came to me each day, for about 50 minutes each class. I learned that when I incorporated the midline exercises and a new method of teaching in that time frame, I generally saw a two- year growth in reading and writing, and a three -year growth in spelling and math. I was responsible for their grade, and all the content of reading, writing, and math. For my teaching sessions with these struggling students, I put the “Brain Integration Therapy” and the “Right Brain Teaching Strategies” together to make this growth.
 
An example of a reading teaching/therapy session would be:
1) Midline Exercises.

Teacher and students did all 6 midline exercises together. (10 minutes).

2) Decoding.

20 minutes decoding (sounding out) long words, with the decoding unit (au/aw) in color in the long word. The picture that gave that sound was on the wall in front of them always (teaching to their camera).

3) Sight Word practice. 

I made Right Brain Sight Word Cards for them to easily remember their sight words and be able to spell them using their strong eye camera. You can easily make Right Brain Sight Word Cards just by drawing the name of the word (meaning) directly on the letters, so the brain sees it in a “unit” (word and name) and quickly retrieves it that way also. Color, humor, and emotion put the “Visual Velcro” on the words that the right brain quickly picks up and stores for easy retrieval.

4) Oral reading from a decodable reader with the decoding units in color. 

I just made my own, since there were none available. But you can just use color for the “phonemes” (decoding units) you are using. We never did any “cold reading”. That is, my students never looked at a page in a book “cold”. I always did my own Pre-Reading, where I looked over the page and pulled out all the “tricky” words and put them on a large piece of paper first. We then proceeded to sound them out, or just talk about them before they read them in the story. I learned not to “correct them” when they were doing oral reading. This was not effective for retaining the word, and they did not like to read orally for me if I did this. 

5) We only had our teaching sessions four days a week. 

On the fifth day, I took the students individually and did the all-important once a week Specific Brain Training. That took about 15 minutes per student. The others were listening to stories on tape. That was one of their favorite activities we did once a week.


A Winning Combination

The adventure of creating more brain connections through physical exercises, and through the training of the child’s right brain, where the strong photographic memory is housed, is a wonderful process to be involved with. It is life-changing. You will see more smiles than you ever have before. 


Let me know about your successes so we can celebrate together. God is so good.
Dianne Craft


Resources
Brain Balance
Brain HighwaysBrain Integration TherapyFamily Hope Center
Little Giant StepsNACD
NILD

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Your contributions keep our ministry running! 

Donate today on GuideStar

(all donations are tax-deductible)

Did you enjoy this article?

React, share, and comment with the tools below

Please follow and like us:


By Debbi L White

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting the seashore. As I sat on the beach on two consecutive days, I observed a man attempting to negotiate the waves.

On the first day, he stood just after the waves broke, and inevitably they would knock him down. I watched as he was plunged beneath the surface, pummeled with the current, and then struggled to get to his feet. He always returned to the same spot, only to be met with the same recurring fate.

On the morning of the second day, I noticed that he ventured out a little further. At his new vantage point, he was able to dive into the waves as they crested. He remained in control of his body through the onslaught of the water and quickly regained his footing before the next wave arrived.

By the afternoon, the man had moved out even further. Now he stood in the water prior to the waves cresting. As a mounting surge of water approached him, he was easily lifted over the wave and then returned to his former place, remaining upright the entire time.

He was unaware of his spectator, but I have thought much about him since those days. It reminded me of the “waves” of life: how they come upon us and how we respond.

Navigating the Waves Upright
There are a lot of “waves” in life: the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, medical problems, divorce…nameless tragedies. They affect us each differently, and various waves in our lives can have differing ramifications. I think a lot depends on WHERE we’re standing and WHAT we’re focusing on.

When I was 12, a friend’s father introduced me to Jesus. He instructed me to start reading my Bible and praying every day. Being the compliant child I was (at that time!), I started the lifelong habit of reading God’s Word daily. Many years later, I was honored to receive the Bible that belonged to a Godly mentor who had gone to Heaven. In the back, she had recorded each year that she had completed reading through the Bible. There were about 50 dates, and that was just in that Bible (which was held together by strong tape). I attribute her Godliness to that habit she had in her life, and I believe that it has been my utter dependence on God and His Word that has kept me “upright” through the onslaught of “waves” in my own life.

“So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.” (II Thessalonians 2:15)

Watching the Waves and Beyond
Where that man at the beach stood significantly affected the impact that the waves had on him. Where are you standing? Are you struggling with every “wave” that hits you? Do even the smallest trials and temptations knock you off your feet, send you plundering and struggling to get up?

Even if this man was out far enough that he could dive into a wave, he had to WATCH for them! If he turned his back and was caught unaware, he surely would’ve been knocked off of his feet again! Certainly, we cannot see most of life’s challenges before they’re upon us, but we CAN have our eyes FIXED on Jesus! By being in His Word daily and praying “without ceasing,” we know where our strength lies for every “wave” and our hope for every outcome.

“Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who in view of the joy lying before Him endured the cross, having despised its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2)



Floating Over the Waves

What waves have crashed over you lately? Are you overwhelmed and exhausted? Are you concerned about making ends meet or meeting all of your family’s needs? Are you struggling with a relationship or a major decision? Perhaps someone in your family is facing a health crisis. Regardless of the “wave,” you can be assured that I AM is with you! Whatever you need, He is! Nothing you are going through catches our Father by surprise! Talk to Him, if you haven’t lately. Get into His Word, and listen to what He has to say to you. He’s going to help you float right over this wave and get your feet back down on solid ground. It’s a promise!

Are you looking for a community who will stand next to you and remind you that floating over the waves of life are not only possible for others, but in every situation, you and your family are currently facing? Then ask to join the SPED Homeschool Support group. We are much stronger when we face the waves of life together.






Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Your contributions keep our ministry running! 

Donate today on GuideStar

(all donations are tax-deductible)

Did you enjoy this article?

React, share, and comment with the tools below

Please follow and like us: