And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

II Corinthians 12:9

by Daria Danielson, SPED Homeschool community member 

 

I went through a summer where every thought of the upcoming homeschool year was filled with dread. I put myself together as the weeks progressed and readied myself for my son’s 8th-grade year. The first week did not go well, and the second and the third weeks were stressful for both of us. The dread overcame me each Sunday night for the week to come and each evening for the day to come. I was in a bad place in my head and did not know what to do, so I laid my concerns, troubles, fears, complaints, and desperate pleas at the feet of Jesus with confession and wrestling. I confessed that this was impossible for me and that I was not designed for this. I confessed I could not do it, and if the Lord wanted me to do it, He would have to do it ALL.

 

How many failures do I have to have? How many fears? How stuck do I need to be? How many sins? How much hypocrisy and discontent do I need to have before I lay my concerns, fears, and frustrations down at the feet of Jesus Christ? The following discusses details of a few incidents where confession took place which eventually gave way to victory in Jesus. 

 

PRIDE

Surrounded by my family all day can result in words that are spoken, intentionally and unintentionally, that hurt feelings – including my own. One day I took the time to sit and think about why I was responding defensively on a subject and discovered that the reason for my defensive responses was that my pride was hurt. I was then able to bring my discovery of this to Jesus’s feet and repent of my pride and self-love. Much personal healing and victory have resulted from this discovery. Now, I talk with my children about pride and how it was so sneaky so they, too, can begin to look out for sneaky pride and self-love in their communication with others. Satan hates to be discovered and called out.

 

HYPOCRISY

Assuming I am not the only mom in the whole wide world that has this problem, I will venture to confess the burden of my failure to learn has been consistent. Yet while I write this, memories and thoughts of my annoyances with my children for not paying attention, forgetting, being lazy, and disobeying flood my mind. I have to say that I am so glad that God does not treat me with as much intolerance, irritability, and impatience as I have treated my children. He is a kind, patient, and gentle Savior.  I am no longer afraid to tell my children what areas I failed at as a kid. If I have to point out a sin of theirs and discuss it with them, it has been helpful to take a turn and confess my sins, too. It helps to be familiar with myself and my sins since I am no better than my child in God’s eyes. It has opened up more communication between the children and me. 

 

DISCONTENT

First, it started with an offense by a neighbor. Then, it grew in my mind to proportions that brought me to anger and bitterness. It was becoming burdensome to me as well as my friends. Even my teenage child noticed it was becoming a problem, so I confessed these before the Lord. I wrestled with the Lord because I knew I wanted to harbor my bitterness and anger but was not supposed to. There was difficulty in the work of exposing the sin and continuing to go to God, who is the only one who could free me from Satan’s stronghold and my desire to keep my pride and self-righteousness. It was worth the struggle because not only did God deal with my anger and bitterness, but He also revealed a more hidden sin which was that of discontent. I did not like how God allowed things to occur in my life (the offense by a neighbor) and that I was unhappy that things didn’t go my way. I discovered the more concealed sin that, bluntly put, was shaking my fist at God as if I knew better than God. 

 

THE WORLD CAN WAIT!  

Our children benefit a thousand times over if only we afford to step away and acknowledge the evil tendencies in our nature, spill out our concerns and fears, and run to a kind Savior that awaits our pathetic pleas. Unspeakable joy, light, fellowship, and open discussion with the children have been a wonderful result of this exercise of privately confessing and laying out all concerns, fears, hurts, and pain before great God. 

 

The dread-filled summer and school year of my son’s 8th-grade year were not fun at the time; however, it marked the beginning of an awesome and amazing journey of brokenness, submission, secret confession, faith, and fellowship with our humble Savior. 

 

Dear sisters, I cannot emphasize the wonderful salve a dear Savior applies to homeschool moms that cannot help but notice their secret sins mid-day and keep them captive until able to rush to the throne by laying them at the feet of Jesus with confession and wrestling! Too much joy is hidden, too much healing delayed, too much victory unseen, too much praise stifled when my sins are dismissed and not soon called out, caught, called by name, and confessed before God.

 

 

 

 

 


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 by Emily Wells, SPED Homeschool Community Member 

 

Like many of you, I am just a mom who did what I had to do so that my son could get the best education, so I am honored to write about our homeschooling journey. My son, Jackson, was diagnosed with Level 1 Autism just after his third birthday. It shocks some parents when they receive this diagnosis for their child. But I had nightmares that my son would not be diagnosed and I would not have the support he needed. His behaviors and the amount of catching up that I felt like he had to do in speech, independent living skills, and development completely overwhelmed me. 

 

Soon after we received Jackson’s diagnosis, we placed him into an Early Intervention Preschool. We could also take Jackson to speech therapy and occupational therapy. These were lifesaving to me. I needed breaks. I needed help to understand my son and how to manage his meltdowns. I learned so many things during this time. Had you asked me then, I would have told you that there was NO WAY I could homeschool my son.

 

Since Jackson had a late birthday, he attended preschool for two more years. In his final year, we placed him part-time in a Head-Start program to get used to a regular classroom full of children and part-time in his early intervention preschool again. It was a big growing year for us. We discovered Jackson was VERY social with his peers at school. We were told he enjoyed throwing sticks for his friends to play “fetch”! His early intervention teacher said that he was doing fantastic in her class and she would rely on him to answer questions for her! This was something we couldn’t have imagined possible just one year before. But we also learned from his Head-Start teachers that if there was an activity that he didn’t want to do, they would not force him to do it. So my son hardly came home with any artwork because the teachers did not want to trigger a meltdown.

 

As Pre-K was coming to a close, we started looking at our options for Kindergarten. Jackson’s intervention teacher was confident that he would transition to a mainstream classroom with no problems. But we also heard that most Kindergarten teachers expect multiple sentences and even paragraphs of handwriting by the second semester! We were shocked! One of Jackson’s biggest struggles is his fine motor skills. His occupational therapist had been consistently working with him to develop those muscles, but his handwriting still needed a lot of work. My husband and I became increasingly concerned that Jackson would easily fall behind without a person able to MAKE him do the tasks he was unwilling to do, like handwriting.

 

So I had a decision to make: I could spend time after school with Jackson to practice his handwriting, which would undoubtedly incur more stress and tantrums because he needed that time to wind down; OR, should I teach Jackson myself. By this time, Jackson had a breakthrough with his speech therapy and wasn’t really needing it anymore. He became pretty capable of communicating his needs to us. We also understood his behaviors a lot better and had tools ready to help prevent or manage meltdowns.

 

HOMESCHOOLING IT IS! In the beginning, it was a very daunting task. My mother homeschooled my three siblings and me, so I was partial to familiar curriculums. Nowadays, there are so many curriculum options. What would happen if I chose the wrong one? Would Jackson connect with and understand the material I chose? I prayed a lot. I chose curriculums with the most hands-on material possible. 

 

In the beginning, Jackson struggled with the fact that I was the teacher and not Mrs. Miller (his previous teacher). Many times he told me, “You are not the teacher! You are mommy!”. But we kept pressing through. Getting started in a subject was a challenge but once he got into it, he was fine. Our biggest struggle was – you guessed it – handwriting. The curriculum that I was using relied heavily on tracing and practicing. This was frustrating for Jackson. He hated it. Even with using a golf ball on his pencil to help his grasp as his therapist had suggested, he still demanded me to help him write the letters hand over hand almost the entire time. By the time we were about a quarter of the way through the year, I had another decision to make: should I stick with this curriculum or try something different? I had heard many good things about Handwriting Without Tears and noticed it was very popular on the Facebook Homeschool sale groups. So I stepped out of my comfort zone and gave this new curriculum a try. Aside from homeschooling Jackson, changing the handwriting curriculum was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Instead of fighting me to repeat a letter on a page, Jackson demands to WRITE the letter before I can give him the full demonstration! He loves the songs, using the blocks and the chalkboards. And it has made a vast difference with his confidence and the clarity of his handwriting!

 

For those of you that are trying to make that first step to homeschool your special needs child, my advice is to trust your gut. Everyone will tell you their opinions. Jackson’s EI teacher and his psychologist assured me he would do perfectly fine in public school. That may have been true. But as Jackson’s mother, it still didn’t sit right with me. There are so many resources and supports out there now that you do not have to start this journey alone. And it could very well be one of the best decisions of your life.

 

 

 

 

 


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by Michele Nuckolls, SPED Homeschool Community Member

 

During a hard season, I was reading a book and had a God-ordained moment of clarity. I went to my daughter’s room and asked her, “Do you think about your birth mother every day?” She gave me an astonished, “YES!” The look on her face said, “How could you possibly have guessed?” 

 

After praying for answers, I read a book by adoptee Sherrie Eldridge who is gentle with adoptive moms like me who didn’t know. Since that day, my daughter and I have embarked on a journey of adoption grief together and it has been healing for both of us.  

 

“Chasing the why behind the behavior” is a phrase coined by Dr. Daniel J. Siegel M.D. and Dr. Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D. This dynamic duo has written quite a few books together, including No Drama Discipline where they specifically talk about this parenting tool. When I thought about how I have simplified my homeschool, this was the first thing that came to mind. When I “chase the why,” sometimes the answer changes everything.  

 

If you are a seasoned SPED homeschool mom, you have probably already been chasing the why behind the behavior when your child might just not be developmentally ready for what you are asking him to do. We have learned to “lower the bar,” so that our kids can meet expectations and feel success. 

 

Here are a few of those examples:

My child melts down every Sunday morning while getting ready for church.

  • Why? Perhaps, church is too loud and chaotic and my child is overwhelmed by it all.

My child protests and doesn’t like to read aloud.

  • Why? Perhaps the book is too difficult to follow. I have one child who struggles with following any type of fantasy book, but real-life books like Ramona and Beezus or Junie B. Jones are loved. As an aside, I have two kids who struggle with emotional regulation and they both LOVE Junie B. Jones. I think it’s nice to read about another cool kid who isn’t perfect either.

My child refuses to write.

  • Why? Low muscle tone? Poor hand, eye coordination? Perhaps a weighted pencil, a marker, or a pencil grip can help?   

My child refuses to go to speech therapy.

  • Why? Because last time he went, he had a meltdown and is now embarrassed to go back. He needs to talk through that embarrassment.  

My child doesn’t want to play at the park in the summer.

  • Why? Because feeling overheated puts him into sensory overload.  

 

Then, there are the deeper struggles. Perhaps a child is disrupting the family rhythm so much that things are harder than they should be, or could be. Here are a few deeper examples:

 

My child is struggling with a math problem and when I ask a simple question, what is 2+2, he intentionally gives an incorrect answer of 500.

  • Why? He is embarrassed that he doesn’t understand, and he decides to act like he doesn’t know anything. He needs a break (maybe until tomorrow), and he needs to watch some more examples worked out for him to watch. He needs to hear that I know he is smart and it’s okay to need extra time to learn. If my child is adopted, he may be afraid of being abandoned, even if I took him home on the day of his birth. If this is the case, maybe he needs to hear that he is my son forever, even after he is old like grandpa. He needs to know that this math thing is just not that important.     

My child is very angry and frustrated today. He is roughly setting the table with snappy remarks.

  • Why? Some children were making fun of him on the playground this afternoon, and he needs to be able to tell the story and talk it out with a parent. He needs me to hear and understand how he feels about it. As Dr. Siegel would say, “he needs to feel felt.”

My tween suddenly does not want to complete his work this school year and seems angry or sad. 

  • This year is the first year of mostly independent work. He feels neglected and misses me. I need to carve out some read-aloud time together, one-on-one time to work on school together, or just special time together, even if it’s just ten minutes a day.

My child is speaking harshly to his brother.

  • Oh no, that was a direct quote FROM ME!  

 

I think our kids with special needs or unique, difficult histories (like adoption, divorce, or illness) have heard and possibly internalized a lie that is troubling them. This is when we, as parents, need to pray and seek the Lord, asking him to reveal the truth. Don’t be afraid to sit in silent stillness with your child to give them a gentle space to share when they are ready. It’s okay to ask questions or make suggestions, but then try to stop talking. Sometimes I will sit down with a child and say something like, “I think something is bothering you, and I hope you will share it with me,” or, “I noticed you were loudly washing the dishes tonight. Could you tell me about what is on your mind?”  

SPED Homeschool has additional articles and resources that address the unique situation for adoptive and foster families.

 

 

 


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Melissa Schumacher, SPED Homeschool Team Member

 

How long did you consider homeschooling before you actually did it? What events or factors made you finally decide to homeschool? I considered homeschooling for years. But, it took a once-a-century global pandemic for me to finally start. Our journey to homeschool spans nearly ten years, two continents, and three moves.

 

As an active-duty military family, there is always change. I admit I looked to public school to be one of the more stable parts of our lifestyle. Certainly, with federal laws like IDEA, education and special education should serve my kids well. Over the years, I have met many military families who homeschool. When I was still pregnant with my son, I sat with a homeschooling mom who talked with me about how homeschool was a natural fit for her boys who loved to explore nature. Or families who lived overseas and traveled to see history, rather than just reading about it. There was so much appeal.

 

One of my parenting mottos is “Begin well, end well.” We don’t have a lot of control over where we will be stationed, how long we will be away from family. But we can begin well by planning as much as possible and having a good attitude when things are difficult or plans change. 

 

We moved from Ohio to Texas during the days between Christmas and New Year. A mid-year move is always difficult, but the added stress of my husband returning from a deployment, moving during the holidays, and re-establishing medical care and therapies for my son with special needs was another level of challenge. Before our move, I had multiple meetings with both schools to ensure a smooth transition. 

 

But, let’s just say it wasn’t smooth. The following two years were very bumpy. But I held on. If we were to homeschool, I didn’t want to abandon public school or leave over my frustration. I wanted to end well.

 

I also held on because my husband traveled frequently; I worried about how I would get a break during those long stretches of parenting by myself. I held on because I had a father fighting cancer, and I was his primary caregiver. I held on because I wanted both of my sons to have the same opportunities, even though they are very different children.

 

While my children were technically enrolled in our public school, I let go in March 2020. Just two weeks before the pandemic shut down our city and our schools, my father passed away. My husband’s upcoming travels were canceled. In one month, our lives and the entire world changed, and I found us at home homeschooling.

 

While there was no beautiful ending to our public school experience, we had a beautiful, yet unplanned start into homeschooling. We started our days with nature walks and had home-cooked lunches. We sat at the kitchen table together and worked on all our subjects together. We focused on cooking, drawing, and building. I used this time to observe my new ‘students,’ and my kids adjusted to a new ‘teacher.’ This was an enormous shift for each of us. I don’t regret that we waited to start homeschooling. 

 

“…we can begin well by planning as much as possible and having a good attitude when things are difficult or plans change. 

 

We know that homeschooling is a wonderful choice for our family during this season. We also know that seasons change. If you are considering homeschooling or are approaching a new homeschool year, what do you need to begin well? Some moms find a weekend retreat for resting and planning for the upcoming year to be most beneficial. Or maybe finding other homeschool moms in your community to connect with will set you up for success.

 

What will your children need to begin well this school year? Do you have a tradition for the first day of school? Whether your kids have always homeschooled or new to homeschool, how can they contribute ideas to your homeschool plan? In military terms, we do a “hot wash” where my sons can talk about their likes and dislikes and strengths and challenges with our homeschool journey. This helps us make adjustments together. 

 

As we start to think of the end of summer, the beginning of a fall, a new school year, I think of all the big and little transitions in my children’s lives, our home, our community. And I’m thinking of all the mothers like me who may be entering a new season of homeschooling. I’m wishing you a wonderful beginning.

 

 

 

 

 


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by the SPED Homeschool Team

 

Looking for some ways to add spark to the biggest summer holiday? Look no further than this list of over 40 different activities for fun AND learning. Love history? Try a unit study about the American flag. Looking forward to spending time with family? There are scavenger hunts, games, bingo and more! Need a fun and easy craft? That’s on the list, too. 

 

It may be summer break but we hope you have a safe, happy and wonderful holiday!

 

Fireworks

Fireworks in a Jar  by PBS Kids for Parents

Fizzy Firework Painting by Views from a Step Stool

Fireworks Spin Art by A Parenting Production

Firework Display Mad Lib by Woo! Jr. Kids Activities

 

Stars and Stripes

American Flag Fingerprint Counting Activity by Fun Handprint Art

Stars and Stripes Sensory Bin by Little Bins for Little Hands

 Lego American Flag by Little Bins for Little Hands

Betsy Ross and the American Flag Unit Study  by Faith and Good Works

American Flag Lapbook by Cynce’s Place

Videos Teaching the History of the Star-Spangled Banner  by Learning Online Blog

 

Family Time

4th of July Bingo by Preschool Play and Learn

Patriotic Bingo by Pinterventures

Happy Birthday America Videos by Stemhax

Gameschooling 4th of July Games  by My Little Poppies

 10 Patriotic Songs for Children by Wildflower Ramblings

100+ 4th of July Trivia Questions by Meebly

4th of July Trivia by Hey, Let’s Make Stuff

Short Videos for Kids About the Statue of Liberty by Learning Online Blog

4th of July Scavenger Hunt by The Military Wife and Mom

 4th of July Minute-to-Win-It Games by Children Ministry Deals

4th of July Conversation Starters and Jokes  by Happy Home Fairy

Patriotic Yoga Cards by Pink Oatmeal

 

Learning Fun

4th of July Books Plus Unit Study  by Mommy Evolution

4th of July I Spy and Counting Activity  by Moritz Fine Design

4th of July Word Search  by Happiness is Homemade

4th of July Word Search by The Artisan Life

4th of July Sudoku by Happiness is Homemade

Patriotic Count and Clip Cards  by The Kindergarten Connection

5 Reasons I Am Thankful for My Freedom Writing Activity by Jinxy Kids

4th of July Math Games  by Gift of Curiosity

4th of July Unit Study on Freedom by Fearless Faithful Mom

 4th of July Lapbook by Trina Deboree Teaching and Learning

Patriotic Color by Number Single Digit Addition by My Joy Filled Life

160 4th of July Math Printables (K to 5th) by iGame Mom

Patriotism and American Symbols Study by Engaging Teaching with Traci Clausen

 Declaration of Independence 4th of July Mini-Unit by Homeschool Journey

Food and Crafts

Patriotic Banner (fine motor activity – cut and lace) by I Should Be Mopping the Floor

 DIY Patriotic Marshmallow Shooter by Big Family Blessings

Red, White, and Blue Snack Recipes for Kids  by Forkly

Fine Motor Lacing Flag Craft by Tot School Resources

Red, White, and Blue DIY Playdough Soap by The Makeup Dummy

 

The SPED Homeschool blog is now ranked the #1 Special Needs Homeschooling Blog by Feedspot. 

 

Thank you for reading and for being part of our community.

 

 


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By Jan Bedell, Ph.D., Master NeuroDevelopmentalist, SPED Homeschool Partner & Board Member

 

Behavior and character are topics parents are always interested in pursuing. The privilege and responsibility we have in raising our children in the way they should go can often be a challenging and frustrating journey. It would be easier if we knew what influenced certain behaviors and how to determine if a negative interaction with a child is a heart issue or if there is something else at the root of it all. 

 

When thinking about the root cause of behavior issues, we must look at several different factors. Some might be more obscure than others. 

 

What is the root cause of challenging behavior? The source of negative behavior could be metabolic, having to do with body chemistry. It could also be the sin nature we were all born with. Or, from my perspective, it could be caused by neurodevelopmental deficits. We will look mainly at neurodevelopmental causes, but the others are well worth mentioning. 

 

  1. Metabolic Causes

Diet and nutrition can play a significant role in negative behavior. If the child reacts to food or the environment, it can cause a wide range of difficult behaviors like irritability, anger, and even aggression or destructiveness. This is beyond the child’s control and care should be taken to consider this as a cause since you cannot discipline this out of a child. One approach to this is to create a food diary each time you see negative behavior, especially if the behavior is uncharacteristic of the child in general. If you see a pattern in food consumed and negative behavior, try eliminating that food type and see if the behavior changes. 

 

  1. Neurodevelopmental Causes

Underdeveloped brain pathways can cause challenges in receiving sensory information correctly, processing information in your short-term memory, as well as storing information for good retrieval. These, like the metabolic causes, are beyond the child’s ability to control. 

Let me give you a few neurodevelopmental examples. This is by no means an exhaustive list.

  • Sensory Overload: If the child is hypersensitive to touch or sound and noises or irritating touches invade the child’s sensory system, the immediate overreaction is fight or flight because the brain is interpreting these stimuli as pain. When you are in pain, you want to get away or retaliate. The result can be negative behavior which is misunderstood by people whose sensory system gives the correct messages.  
  • Underdeveloped Central Vision: It might be considered a negative character quality not to look a person in the eyes when you talk to them. We tend to require this of our children, especially when we try to get our point across about a behavior or character issue. When the central detail vision (how you see right in the center of your vision field) is underdeveloped, the child can move his eyes toward you but soon look like he is looking over your shoulder. You have trained him to move his eyes toward you, but since he can’t really see well in the center, the eye moves so he can look with his peripheral vision. This is often interpreted as defiance or disobedience when, in fact, it is beyond the child’s control.
  • Following Directions or Staying on Task: Parents often comment that their child REFUSES to follow directions and exhibits the poor character of not staying with their work. Look no further than the inability to hold pieces of auditory information in short-term memory when you have these behavioral challenges. When children’s auditory processing is low, they literally can’t hold the pieces of the instruction together long enough to complete the request. Often, this gets them in trouble for not “obeying” or not being “diligent” when it was simply beyond their control at this point. Read more about auditory processing and attention here.  

 

  1. Sin Nature

Unlike metabolic or neurodevelopmental causes of negative behavior, the sin nature CAN be controlled by the child. The discerning eye of a caring parent can determine whether they are dealing with a metabolic, neurodevelopmental, or heart issue in a particular situation. 

 

To identify which of the three root causes of behavior or character issues you are dealing with, I suggest watching a couple of videos I recorded called Create a Positive Learning Environment Part 1 & 2 on the  Brain Coach Tips YouTube Channel. These videos will help you better understand the different possible causes of negative behavior that I discussed here and how to change this for better compliance in the future. 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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by Vicki Tillman, SPED Homeschool Partner 7 Sisters Homeschool 

 

Confident teens are often teens that have had character development as part of their homeschool high school experience. One of the most confidence-enhancing, character-development subjects is training teens to be ladies and gentlemen.

 

Teens who can walk into numerous social, business, church, or family settings and conduct themselves well are empowered to do good and feel good. Here are five kinds of character development for training teens to be ladies and gentlemen:

 

Social graces. High school is a great time to review basic manners for teens to look and feel good about themselves. 

  • Saying *Please* *Thank you*
  • Holding doors open for others, or walking through a held door and saying *thank you*
  • Not pushing ahead of others in lines or going down halls/aisles
  • Allowing elderly or little ones to go first
  • Using technology politely when in a group
  • Meeting new people

 

Self-composure. Teens feel better about themselves when they can keep their cool, especially in public. (It is the fruit of the spirit, too.) Teens need to be skilled at the 3W’s of composure:

  • What am I feeling?
  • Why am I feeling that way?
  • What am I going to do about it?

 

Assertiveness. Colossians 4:6 instructs our teens to let their speech be with grace, seasoned with salt, that they may know how to answer every person. Teens feel more confident when they know when to be quiet and when to assert or stand up for themselves. Just like the best role model, Jesus- sometimes he held his peace, sometimes he called Pharisees *white-washed sepulchers*. Check out  The Homeschool Highschool Podcast on Christ-like Character for ideas on assertiveness.

 

Look out for those who are weaker. One of the loveliest things I’ve seen in our local homeschooling community is the kind and inclusive treatment of young people with differences or disabilities. I remember a letter one young woman on the autism spectrum wrote to our homeschool group classes thanking the umbrella school for the feelings of acceptance she received. Our local kids are naturally kind, but they were also coached on accepting and supporting, never mocking, other students.

 

Prayer. Prayerful teens (and adults) are usually more in touch with Christ and Christ-like behavior. For teens who are tired of the prayers of their childhood, it might be good to let them discover some interactive ways to pray using  7Sisters prayer journals

 

These are good years to invest in your teens’ confidence by investing in character development by training them to be ladies and gentlemen.

 

 

 

 

 


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by Wendy Dawson, SPED Homeschool Partner Social Motion Skills/Incuentro

 

“Confabulation.” A big word with big ramifications. When I first read about confabulation, I found it interesting because it relates strongly to my experience working with individuals with autism and special needs. The very concept is incredibly intriguing yet worrisome until you understand it. 

 

So what is confabulation? According to Verywellmind.com, confabulation is a type of memory error in which gaps in a person’s memory are filled unconsciously with fabricated, misinterpreted, or distorted information. When someone confabulates a memory or a piece of information, we aren’t receiving the whole truth. This is troubling if we ask our child to recount an event that happened at school or work because it might not be the complete story but rather only a partial interpretation of what really happened. They may even tend to recall only the last thing they heard about an incident rather than what transpired. The problem is a piece of the truth is not the whole truth.

 

As parents and educators, we need to understand confabulation is a real phenomenon and the importance of not jumping to conclusions in situations. Our children will likely tell us the truth, but it may unintentionally only be a partial truth. According to an infographic in Verywellmind.com, symptoms of confabulation are:

  • A lack of awareness that a memory is false or distorted
  • No motivation for deceit or to lie
  • Misremembered information based on actual memories
  • Stories can range from plausible to completely unrealistic

 

Now that you know what confabulation is, it’s important to remain aware in situations where knowing the whole truth is paramount. When your child comes home from school and tells you a story about a fight in the cafeteria, you might consider getting different perspectives from others who were present. Your young adult child tells you about a harassment incident at work. It might be prudent to contact the supervisor on duty, not because you don’t believe your child, but rather to get the full scope of the situation. 

 

Some simple steps that you can take to help your child more accurately recount an experience are as follows:

  1. Give them time to process. Let them think about a situation before you ask questions.
  2. If they are able, have them write down the details as soon as possible rather than recount them verbally.
  3. Ask specific leading questions about a situation. Re-orient them to the situation and help them think through exactly what happened.

 

Your child should always feel confident in sharing information with you and knowing that you take their word seriously. Getting to the truth – the whole truth- is always important, but your child may be unable to recount their story with certainty, or there may be more to the story than they can aptly explain. Remember, confabulation is not intentional lying.

 

Source: 

Spitzer, David, et al. “Confabulation in Children with Autism.” UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, 5 Oct. 2016, core.ac.uk/download/pdf/79541374.pdf.

 

 

 

 

 


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by Monica Irvine, from The Etiquette Factory, SPED Homeschool Curriculum Partner

 

“How dare you think that you can teach character!” was a comment left by a parent on our Facebook page. “Ouch,” I thought. 

But, I know that we can – I can, you can, we all can. If any parent is under the illusion that only they can teach their child character, well, I think that’s sad.  

 

As a child, I was taught character by many people – my parents and other adults. There were two common factors in those who were successful in slowly, gradually, but steadily, improving my character: patience and love.

I know this truth: you cannot help others improve their character unless they know that you love them beyond a shadow of a doubt. Unless we know that someone loves us and has our best interest at heart, it is difficult for us to soften our hearts toward them enough to allow them to influence our character and moral compass. It always starts and ends with love.

 

When I was in the 4th grade, I cheated on a social studies test. My teacher, Mr. Luckett, picked up my test and saw the notes I had hidden under my test. He asked what they were, but I lied and said I didn’t know they were on my desk. He just nodded and kept moving. You see, Mr. Luckett was my favorite teacher. I was lost in his class and struggled to learn, but he was always kind. Honestly, I struggled in many of my classes. After class that day, he never said a word, and I moved to my English class. 

I felt consumed with guilt by the time I got to my English class. During English class, I couldn’t take it anymore. I went up to my teacher, tears streaming down my face, and told her that I needed to talk to Mr. Luckett. She walked me down to his class and asked him to come out into the hallway, where I gathered the courage through many tears and heaving breaths to confess my betrayal of his confidence.  

Later in the day, when I was calmer, he came and walked me to an empty gym (a female teacher accompanied us). He invited me to sit down on the bleachers and asked me why I felt the need to cheat. I don’t remember what I said but, I do remember how I felt. I knew he cared about me. He reminded me of that through his words and the way he spoke to me. I decided at that moment that I never wanted to feel like that again. I didn’t like how it felt disappointing someone whom I respected.  

He helped develop my character because instead of condemnation, he sought understanding. He taught me other options I could do when I felt overwhelmed or lost in my classes. He reminded me that I was a good girl and that he knew I was good. He reminded me that he had confidence in me and my mistake did not represent who I was. He accepted my behavior as a mistake, not a representation of me. That was huge for me.

 

Parents, hopefully, our children will be surrounded by people who have their best interests at heart. How do we teach character to our children and other children that we come into contact with? We remember a few things:

  • Showing every child that they are valued and loved by the way we speak to them and treat them.
  • Never allowing a child’s mistake to become the focal point of who they are. We do this by never saying things like, “You are dishonest” or “You are selfish”. Instead, we might say, “That was a dishonest answer” or “That was a selfish decision.”
  • Continuously showing each child how much we believe in them and their ability to make good choices by being their biggest cheerleader. We do this by saying things such as, “I know it’s difficult but I believe in you” or “I love how you are always striving to make the right choice, even though it’s painful to do so sometimes,” etc.
  • Reminding ourselves that it’s difficult to always make the right choice. You and I don’t make the right choice each day, and neither will our children. But, we can learn from our wrong choices and give each other and ourselves more grace.

 

Yes, character can be taught. It is best taught by example. One thing that cripples too many parents’ ability to influence their children is when there is hypocrisy between what they tell their kids to do and what they do themselves. Children are so smart. For them to respect us enough to listen to us, they have to believe that we, too, are trying our best to live what we profess to believe.

Developing character is a life-long journey, not a race. We are on the same journey as our children, trying to be a little better today than we were yesterday. Some days we do better than other days. May we never give up on ourselves or anyone else. Just keep going.

 

For resources to help you teach the skills of character, good manners, and life skills, please visit our website at www.TheEtiquetteFactory.com.

 

 

 

 

 


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by the SPED Homeschool Team

 

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It’s the time of year that everyone has been looking forward to – Summer! The days are long; the air is warm, and, for many, it’s the perfect opportunity to be outside and explore the great outdoors. 

 

Our SPED Homeschool team has you covered. Whether you are headed out to your backyard or on an extended road trip, we know every outdoor adventure needs delicious food, fun games, and great reading. We also know that so many of our exceptional learners love to be outdoors, and there are plenty of hands-on learning ideas for them. 

 

FIRST, let your students help you pick delicious – and mostly good-for-you – snacks. Bonus, most kids can assist with prepping any of these! Measuring, mixing, spreading, and stirring are great ways to start kids helping in the kitchen!

Cabbage Salad Recipe Kids Can Make from Kids Cook Real Food 

Chocolate Pistachio Healthy Vegan Snack Bars (Gluten Free) from Beaming Baker

Ants on a Log from Healthy Little Foodies

Summer Infused Water for Kids from Baby Foode

Perfect Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies by Texanerin 

Sandwiches on a Stick by foodlets

Taco Pinwheels by Dinner at the Zoo

Fruit and Cheese Kabobs by Parents.com 

Chia Seed Protein Bites by Taste of Home

Mini Deep Dish Pizzas from Two Healthy Kitchens

Salad in a Jar by Hello Wonderful

Pesto Pasta Salad by Raddish Kids

No Bake Cookies by All Recipes

 

NEXT, get your big kids and little kids moving and playing with these large motor activities by using one of the linked products or creating your own version at home.

Fly a kite 

Go on a scavenger hunt

Have a Ribbon Ninja tournament

Try some new moves

Play a round of frisbee golf

Enjoy a game of catch

 

THEN, slow down and take a closer look at nature. Or unleash your child’s creativity, all while developing fine motor skills by using one of these linked products or your own items from home.

Write in a nature journal  

Draw with sidewalk chalk

Study butterflies

Do some nature-based projects

Observe bugs

Try learning the Forest School way

 

LAST, it’s time to hit the road! Tune in to these wonderful audiobooks or one of your family favorites from your own collection or your local library while driving or soaking up the sun!

Adventures in Odyssey 

The Vegetables We Eat

Trivia for Smart Kids

Planting a Rainbow

Call of the Wild

 

Want even more? These homeschool-friendly curriculum options and tips from the following SPED Homeschool partners for even more ideas for learning and enjoying the great outdoors.

Science Camp Science Pack from A Reason For

Taking Math Outside Curriculum Guide from Wild Math

Tips from Outdoor Learning Enthusiasts from Learning After School

 

 

 

 


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