January 17, 2018

Auditory Procesing - Problems, Bypasses & Corrections

By Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP

When my son reads, he struggles so much because he has to sound out the same word over and over again in the story.”

When I give my son three simple directions, he only does one…if that! I’m sure he has an Auditory Processing Problem.”

How the Brain Processes
What is happening when bright, hard working kids and teenagers have to expend so much energy to process things they hear? For all of us, the left auditory brain hemisphere is supposed to learn new material, and then transfer it to the right visual hemisphere for long term storage, and easy retrieval. When a child or teenager is struggling in this area, the hemispheres are not communicating as they should. It is like there is a “disconnect.”


Symptoms of an Auditory Processing Problem
When a child is experiencing a significant Auditory Processing Problem the child/teenager almost always has difficulty with:

1 - Reading
Sight Words:

  • Word retrieval is difficult. Child tries to sound out all sight words. “what=w-h-a-t”
  • Difficulty learning names of alphabet letters when younger.


  • Phonics “rules” (think auditory input) don’t stick, even with games.
  • Sounds out same word over and over again while reading.
  • Parents are often on their third or fourth phonics program.
  • Reads “extra” letters in a word that aren’t there, such as an “n” or “r”.
  • Often two or more years below grade level in reading when older.

2 - Spelling

  • Words can’t be read by anyone else because they are not spelled phonetically. Leaves out consonant and whole syllables, not just vowels, which are tricky for everyone.
  • Spells word differently each time. Has no “picture” of the word in his head.

3 - Math

  • Math facts difficult to learn even with music, games, “wraps” and much repetition.
  • Skip counting or remembering the order of months of the year are hard.
  • Mental math is difficult (hearing his own silent voice).

4 - Memory

  • Because most curriculum relies on auditory teaching methods, (reading, worksheets, listening to lecture), child appears to have memory issues. 
  • A child who is using too much energy for focus/attention can also appear to have a poor memory.

5 - Tongue Twisters

  • Ordering sounds is hard, so the child says words like, “Sundenly; Shuspicious; Mazagine”.
  • Avoids saying challenging words in conversation.

6 - Understanding Verbal Directions

  • When a child asks for directions to be repeated regularly, or says “what” a lot, it can be a focus/attention issue or an Auditory Issue, if other symptoms are present.
  • Not all of these symptoms need to be present to have an Auditory Processing Dysfunction. The more severe the issue, the more symptoms will be present.

What to Do?
Parents and teachers have found that they can make learning easier for their child by doing two steps: “Bypassing and Correcting.”


It has been found that we can “bypass” the child’s difficulty with auditory processing of material by using more visual, right-brain teaching methods. Let’s look at some of these successful methods that parents use at home to help their child “get in touch with the smart part of themselves.”

Right Brain Sight Words. This teaching technique involves embedding the picture of the word onto the letters. Greatly struggling readers love this method because they can immediately remember the words to read and spell. To see an example of this method, watch this video here on my site. These words can be made at home…no expense!

Right Brain Phonics. For a struggling reader, an intensive phonics program is necessary. Because of the Auditory Processing Problem, games, workbooks, writing or black and white cards often don’t transfer to easier reading. For my students in my Resource Reading class in school, I created a Right Brain Phonics reading method, which again, uses the embedding process. Using this method, I was able to see a two year growth in my students, ages 7-14, in one year. You can view this teaching method on my website.

Other Intensive Phonics programs. My experience with those who exhibit a fairly severe Auditory Processing Problem, I have found only five programs that seem to work well for these students. They vary in expense greatly. Some are very expensive, others moderately so, and one is minimally expensive. If you would like a list of these five programs and their descriptions, just email me, child.diagnosticscs@gmail.com, and put “Alternative Phonics Programs” in the subject line.

Spelling “rules” are auditory. Thus, they do not stick for this population. To bypass this spelling glitch, I used the Right Brain Spelling method with my students in school. I taught them how to use their strong Photographic Memory for memorizing spelling words. It worked remarkably well, and greatly took the stress out of a child’s life. When I taught my gifted sixth through eighth graders, I used this method exclusively to get a two to three year growth in spelling in a year. To read about how to use this easy, inexpensive method, read the article, “Teaching a Right Brain Child,” on this website.

Math is one of the most auditory subjects that we teach. Because the math facts and processes are often taught by using rules (think auditory) and repetition, the child can become very discouraged, and the parent feels that the child isn’t “trying” to learn the facts. Once again, I turned to the child’s Photographic Memory to teach the facts and to remember processes. I have “Right Brain Math Strategies” in our Lesson Plans section for parents who are interested in learning more about these helpful strategies.


While the parent is successfully bypassing the auditory processing glitch, steps can be taken that will actually help to “correct” the child’s processing issue. This is a very exciting part of working with a struggling learner. I used two main methods to correct an Auditory Processing Problem in the children I worked with: Brain Integration Therapy and Targeted Nutritional Interventions.

Increase Brain Connections
This is the exciting part. I found that I could effectively increase connections between the left/right, top/bottom and back/front part of the brain by using very specific body exercises to train the brain. I used the Brain Integration Therapy Manual for that, doing the program that takes twenty minutes a day. This is the method I used in my Resource Room classes with my bright but struggling learners, to achieve two-year reading growth in just one year, when used with right brain teaching strategies (www.diannecraft.org). I found this to be the least expensive, and fastest working midline therapy around. Results are often seen with one month. It also can be done by any “untrained” person.

Another way to help improve brain connections would be to “outsource” this Brain Integrating process by seeking outside therapies such as NACD (www.nacd.org) or I Can Do, (www.ican-do.net) outside of the home. Auditory Sound programs have also proven to be helpful. Auditory Integration Therapy, www.auditoryintegration.net, or the Fast Forward program, www.gemmlearning.com

Target Nutritional Issues
As a nutritionist, it has been my experience that by using targeted nutritional supplements many parents have found that they can greatly increase their child’s auditory processing ability. When healing an Auditory Processing Problem in a child, for years I have relied on Brain Integration Therapy to reconnect brain processing areas, very specific Essential Fatty Acids, and Lecithin…the “auditory memory” food. This subject will be explored in great detail in another article entitled, “The Biology of Auditory Processing and Memory Problems.”


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January 13, 2018

Successfully Tackling Evaluations for Gifted and 2E Learners

By Jen Duncan

January brings a lot of welcome habits: decluttering, organizing, and mid-year homeschool evaluations.

Our family enjoys this time of year, but mid-year evaluations have not worked well for us. If I waited until January to evaluate and tweak our homeschool, it would take me until June. Meanwhile, my son would lose his mind from sheer boredom and lack of challenge.

When you homeschool a child who may go through three years of material each school year, you have to change your mindset. Instead of evaluating and tweaking a couple of times a year, you have to do it more often. Constantly, even. How do you do that without losing your mind? After 14 years of doing this, I’ve got some tips for you!

Keep a Flexible Mindset

Often, we fall into the mindset that there is only one valid way to educate our children. This is not because it’s true, but because it’s what we know and see. We might believe that a specific schedule or the scope and sequence in the teacher’s manual is the one true path to take. Honestly, though, this just isn’t true.

That schedule which we all know and pretend to love, the scope and sequence that was carefully designed. They are simply tools. They are there to give you a baseline to work from so that you don’t have to completely reinvent the wheel.

If they happen to work for you, fantastic! That is one less thing that you have to focus on.

For most families of gifted and twice-exceptional children though, these curriculums simply don’t work. They were not written with our children in mind.

Let Your Child Set the Pace

As the child of two teachers, I thought homeschooling would be easy. I knew how lesson plans and classroom schedules worked, and if I could help tutor a classroom of 20+ 8-year-olds, surely I could handle planning and teaching my own child.

I quickly learned that homeschooling is completely different from teaching or tutoring in a classroom. I also learned that homeschooling an atypical child requires a completely different set of “rules.” No matter how often I tried to plan ahead, my son worked on his own schedule. Eventually, I learned to let him do so.

Gifted and 2E children have their own way of doing things, and it often is not a way that makes sense to the rest of us. It is, however, the way that makes the most sense to them. When you are educating and parenting a gifted or 2E child, you really don’t have to motivate your child to learn. They will do that all by themselves. It is your job to guide them, to be their sounding board, and to keep them supplied with challenging, satisfying materials.

In this case, tailoring a gifted child’s education often does not mean planning a detailed schedule that will be followed to the tee. Rather, it means having a lot of things available for your child to dig into and the patience to deal with their intensity and constant change.

Instead of trying to control your child’s education, you get to go along for the ride. And instead of setting the pace, you are there to make small adjustments as they are needed.

Think of it like driving a race car: you can’t make huge, sudden adjustments because the car is going too fast. Rather, you make constant small adjustments, keeping the car moving along its path.

Keep Communication Open

Something that I came to realize is that I cannot do this on my own. My son has an amazing mind, but it is one that works very differently than mine. If I am going to guide him and educate him, I need to keep a solid line of communication open with him.

For me, this meant admitting, early on, that I am not perfect. I am not the “all-knowing mommy.” If I give him something that does not make sense to him, it’s not on purpose. It’s because I honestly thought it would work. If it doesn’t, for any reason, I need him to be willing to tell me that. In order for this to happen, he needs to know that I’m not going to take it personally. Both of us have to be willing to open up and help each other.

This is a system that we set in place when my son was about 8 years old, and it is one that has served us well for over a decade. Even in college, he will come to me to discuss assignments and systems that don’t make sense to him so that I can help him find ways to navigate them.

How have you handled evaluations and tweaks in your homeschool? Have you found a system that works, or are you still looking? Comment below – I am happy to help!


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January 12, 2018

When Your Student Derails Your Homeschool High School Plan

By Peggy Ployhar


Two years ago, my 16-year-old son with Dyslexia approached me and said that he didn’t want to do school anymore. We had had this conversation many times before, but this time he made it very clear to me he did not intend to ever attend college or any school which would require him to have college prep classes on his transcript. He was done with studying things he didn’t want to learn.

A New Approach

After realizing where this same conversation had taken us in the past, and how many times I had not handled it well, I decided this time I would hear him out and then take the situation to God for His direction. After much prayer and taking time to listen to what God was doing through this struggle, I was led to the following revelations:

Revelation #1 – Maxed Out
The first realization God led me to was that I had pushed this young man to the end of where I was capable of leading him and teaching him for his future purposes. God had this situation under control more than I did and I needed to let go and trust that wherever this next phase would take my son, it would be okay.

Revelation #2 – Not My Future
The second thing God impressed upon me was that He didn’t need my plans to interfere with the plans that He was working out in my son’s heart and mind. The fact that I knew what my son’s gifts were and would love for others to see how gifted and talented he was in those areas, didn’t mean I had any right to try to push him into situations that he didn’t feel led to enter.

Revelation #3 – God’s Permanent Child, My Temporary Assignment
The final reminder God revealed to me was that although I love my son greatly, He loves Him even more. As parents, we are given the privilege of shepherding our children, but we should never think that they are our possessions. It was my assignment to do what I had been able to do, and trust God would work out all His purposes for the bigger plans He had for my son’s life.



After taking all these new revelations, as well as many conditions and issues we needed to work through together, I met with my son, so we could determine our next step. First, I was careful to explain to him that my willingness to change direction wasn’t me giving up on him. Next, we discussed what legal obligations needed to be followed to ensure he was meeting the required state homeschooling laws. Third, I made it clear that he would need to pay me back for the cost of the expensive writing curriculum he had chosen not to use. Finally, I gave him a deadline for developing his class list in which he needed to note how all the required subjects in our state were going to be met through the classes he chose.

Renewed Enthusiasm
In the weeks following our conversation while the curriculum went out the window and my son took control of his own learning; his spirits began lifting. And although he still didn’t get up at the crack of dawn, he wasn’t hibernating in his room to avoid the class work I had for him. He started working on projects, learning new skills, and creating collaborative projects with friends. He wrote and produced podcasts, learned video editing and movie recoloring. He started writing for the joy of it and developing stories. And, he figured out ways to help me grade him on his progress. He once again was enjoying learning and life.

An Unfolding Plan
I had no idea where this unconventional plan would take my son once he graduated, but I continued to trust God did. After graduation, this past spring, my son decided to take a gap year at home while he looked for work and other opportunities he could pursue to develop skills in his areas of interest.

So far, this year, he has taught himself how to play guitar and mentored his younger sister as she works on writing a graphic novel. He’s also continuing to write and work through the logistics to direct and film some short movies he has already written scripts for. But, the most profound way God has made it very clear to me that I was helping this young man follow His will is that my son has been a critical member of the SPED Homeschool team through the work he has been able to do as our nonprofit’s Social Media Specialist and Video Production Manager. Had I pushed back on this derailment two years ago, my son would not have developed the skills he needed to do these jobs but which God had already planned to come about.


How About Your Child?

Maybe in reading this article, or even before, you have come to the realization that your teen has hit the end of the road on your high school plan. Maybe he/she has become lethargic about school or is pressing back on you so much that you just don’t feel like you have the energy to fight anymore. My advice for you is to take the issue to the Lord in prayer. My approach may be the one you should take, but then again it may not. I know from experience it would have been the wrong path if I had chosen to take this approach with my oldest son, because even though he had been adamant about not wanting to attend college, that’s where God eventually led him…and thankfully he had taken all the college prep classes he needed while being homeschooled.

I want to encourage you also to talk through your homeschooling struggles with a friend or mentor who can be your sounding board of truth and wisdom. If you don’t have a person like that in your life, I would invite you to comment below and start a conversation as well as join the SPED Homeschool Facebook Support Group, where you can be part of a community who understands your struggles and desires to come alongside you and help you navigate the road ahead in homeschooling your student with special educational needs.

God bless!


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January 10, 2018

Mid-Year Assessments

By Kimberly Vogel

We’ve hit the halfway point this year. It’s time for a mid-year check up. Even if things are sailing smoothly, it’s a good idea to take a close look at different aspects of homeschooling and see what (if any) changes need to be made.

Why Assess?
At the beginning of the year, we set goals for our students. At the end of the year, we wrap up what was completed and decide on changes for the next year. A key step to success is a mid-year assessment. This gives a chance for greater student success because modifications can be made.

As we start a new calendar year, it helps us mentally to bring that fresh start into our homeschool and an assessment is just the tool for the job!

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23

Assessment Tips

Before you start, remember these tips:

  1. This is just for you. The purpose is to see what areas reap success and which areas need some work. It’s not a ticket to bring judgment or heap guilt, as we moms are so quick to do. You decide what is important in your homeschool. It can be done with pencil and paper, or conversationally. It can even be part of an IEP. If you do not have an IEP, ask SPED how we can help!
  2. Focus on seeing things as they are – the truth, not disillusionment either too positive (denial) or too negative (critical).
  3. Prayer always helps! We want to see things with God’s eyes, trusting His revelation, having His focus, and gaining His new vision. 

3 Areas to Assess

What were your goals at the start of the year? Check on those goals, look for growth, decide on modifications, and see what goals need to be dropped. You want your child to be successful. With special needs, success looks different than for non-typical learners.

Some students need goal assessments done more than setting goals at the start of a new year, mid-year assessment, and end of the year wrap up. Keep checking on where your child is and reassess to modify when needed in order to bring growth and success. 

Modifications can be slowing down in certain areas when there is a struggle, or speeding up when your child is rocking those goals!

Grades and Curriculum
This is the most straightforward, yet hardest to change. The numbers tell us how things are going. What are the grades? Are you on track in the curriculum? If it’s not going well, either with grades or not advancing in the curriculum, don’t be afraid to change.

It’s critical that our kids learn the way that is best for them. If a curriculum or the pace you set at the start of the year isn’t working, it’s ok to change. Not just ok… it’s beneficial and important to the success of your student.

How is your child’s heart? Attitude? Obedience? Relationships? What habits and life skills are functioning well and what needs an adjustment? How is his/her walk with God? If this area is out of whack, then everything else will suffer.

Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life” Proverbs 4:23

This area is the most important area to measure, yet requires a deeper level of communication. If you do not have such conversations with your child, please start now, it’s not too late.


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January 06, 2018

The "S" Factors of Childhood Depression

By Peggy Ployhar

This blog is the final in my 7-part series on childhood depression. Through these articles, we have covered many issues and truths regarding childhood depression. But, we have also discussed how there’s always a silver lining of hope to be found amidst the dark days and trying situations childhood depression can bring into our homes.

I encourage you to read all the articles in this series to gain a comprehensive understanding of all six warning and guiding lights associated with childhood depression. To find a listing of all the previous posts in this series, refer to the bottom of this article for links.

Warning “S” - Symptoms

Mixed Signals
If you were to look up a list of the physical symptoms associated with depression, you will quickly realize the list compiled for adults is rather different than the list given for children. Children, in general, have fluctuating appetites and sleep patterns. Growth spurts and hormonal changes keep their bodies in a consistent flux. Thus, when it comes to looking for physical signs of depression in children,
it is often difficult to differentiate between depression and the swings of adolescence.
Some children will isolate themselves when they are depressed, but others might be socially engaged and angry. On the other hand, one depressed child may start cutting himself, but another might be overly concerned with his appearance. And, to further complicate matters, there are some children who put on a happy face, participate in activities, get great grades, and make everyone believe are no underlying issues at all.

Act on Your Instinct
The problem with trying to stamp specific symptoms on a depressed child is that when parents can’t check off clearly defined boxes which indicate their child is depressed, they often won’t follow up on an instinctive feeling that something is off with their child. To that end, I want to encourage you to start a conversation with your child even if there are no physical warning signs present. In the long run, it’s better to have a dead-end conversation than to deal with depression once it has spiraled out of control.

Getting the conversation going may be a bit awkward, but don’t let that hold you back. If you want some help with approaching the issue, the best resource I have found is Stomping Out Depression by Neil T. Anderson and Dave Park. In general, your discussions don’t need to be elaborate or filled with great wisdom, you just need to take the time to have a meaningful conversation with your child. Get to the underlying roots of your child’s biggest struggles. Don’t judge. Offer compassion. And, show love through your willingness to be available and walk through these struggles alongside your him/her.

Guiding “S” – Serotonin and the Gut

A Natural Antidepressant
Serotonin is called the body’s natural anti-depressant. Unfortunately, serotonin taken as a supplement doesn’t come anywhere close to helping the body like the serotonin the human body manufactures on its own.

And, while I don’t have credentials to even discuss the medical and pharmaceutical benefits of serotonin, my research and experience have provided me with enough circumstantial evidence to warrant mentioning it and some things that increase and decrease natural serotonin production.

The Gut-Brain Connection
When I finally realized one of the main roots of my depression was linked to gut issues, I was in my mid-thirties. I had been unaware of how certain childhood circumstances, medical treatments, and prescriptions, as well as food choices, had negatively affected my gut bacteria.

It wasn’t until I met Diane Craft and learned about her Biology of Behavior information that I started putting together how my gut issues, and those of my children, were intricately linked to our many common issues, including depression. Diane’s material was extremely helpful in explaining how serotonin produced within a healthy gut, affects brain function.

If you would like more information on this gut-brain connection, here are some additional sources I would encourage you to explore:

Silver Lining

It is hard to summarize how dramatically my life, and my ability to think, has changed because of what God has revealed to me through my years of struggling with depression and subsequent years of healing. Going from constant hazy thinking, uncontrollable bursts of anger, and suicidal thoughts to who I am today is, in short, a miracle. If God had allowed the transformations I have summarized in these past 7 blogs to happen to me and my children overnight, there wouldn’t have been much wisdom for me to share.

But, God chose to heal us in a slower and more methodical way so we could gain understanding about regarding our relationship with Him, others and the world around us. I am eternally grateful He allowed me to walk this road in this manner. Not only did He do a good work in our family, but He has allowed us to be part of the good work He desires to do in those who come upon these articles and are ministered to through the lessons we have learned.

All praise and honor to Him who works His grace and mercy beyond the borders of what our human minds could ever conceive to ask or think. In Him, we find our peace and our purpose. It comes not from what we have to offer others from within ourselves, but rather what we’re able to share that He first shared with us.

I encourage your feedback and comments. God bless!

Links to All the Blogs in this Series
Looking Into the Face of Childhood Depression
The “L” Factors of Childhood Depression
The “I” Factors of Childhood Depression
The "G" Factors of Childhood Depression
The "H" Factors of Childhood Depression
The "T" Factors of Childhood Depression
The “S” Factors of Childhood Depression

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January 05, 2018

Gifted with a Glitch

By Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP

All of our children have unique gifts that God has imparted to them. However, for the purposes of our discussion today, let’s look at giftedness from the purely academic viewpoint. One of the most puzzling scenarios we see in our children, is the child who is academically gifted, but performing so far below that standard. Often, this child can be seen as having a “character” problem. We might conclude that this child is “lazy, sloppy or unmotivated.” We use many different strategies to help that child perform better without success.

Today I want you to consider another possibility. This could be a child who is gifted but still has a learning glitch. Commonly, the child who is “gifted with a glitch” is the most misunderstood of our children. Let’s see if we can unravel this mystery child a bit.

Characteristics of Academic Giftedness
The general consensus is that an average IQ is 90-109. One can accomplish much with an average IQ. In general schooling settings, a child is considered for entry into “gifted” classes if his IQ measures at 120 or above. However, we home educators often do not have to have our child tested in order to know that he is academically gifted. We can see it in so many ways. 

Dr. Linda Silverman, author of Upside Down Brilliance, and founder of the Gifted Development Center in Colorado agrees with this (www.gifteddevelopment.com). She states that parents are excellent identifiers of giftedness in their children. She has found that 85% of the children whose parents say they fit three fourths of the following characteristics score at least 120 (superior range) in an IQ test.
  • Reasons well (a good thinker)
  • Extensive spoken vocabulary
  • Has strong curiosity
  • Has a great sense of humor
  • Is a keen observer
  • Has a wide range of interests
  • Avid reader (if a reading glitch is not present)
  • Concerned with justice and fairness
  • Tends to question authority
  • Often prefers older companions or adults
You may have recognized these characteristics in your own child, but are puzzled because his performance does not match his IQ. Is this a manifestation of a character issue or a learning glitch?

Twice Exceptional
After I had finished homeschooling my son, I went back to teaching. I taught children who were identified as “Twice Exceptional”. I thought of them as “gifted with a glitch”, because they were identified as Gifted, which was one exception, while experiencing another exception: below average performance in schoolwork as the result of a learning disability.

I learned so much working with these wonderful teenagers. I helped them overcome their learning glitch, so that they were free to do the things that God called them to do.

Most Common Glitch
The most common learning glitch that these children displayed was Dysgraphia. These teenagers had great ability to tell a story orally, but when they put the “offending utensil” in their hand, their mind shut down. I had them in my Language Arts class because they were turning in so little written work. (Math teachers also reported that they refused to “show their work” or, they made, “careless” math errors because they didn’t line up their numbers correctly, which is another subtle sign of this visual/spatial disorder.)

Because spelling is usually taught by writing the words multiple times, or by filling in worksheets (with the offending utensil...the pencil), these young people had not memorized many common spelling words, such as “was, sure or what. They continued to misspell the days of the week and months of the year, even after we had studied them many times. This made their writing appear very primitive.

Diagnosing the Spelling Gap
When it came to spelling errors, my first goal was to determine whether this child really had not memorized the necessary words,or it could be that the child actually knew how to spell the words correctly, but misspelled them because of the writing glitch.

When a child misspelled a common word, I asked him to spell it orally while I wrote it down for him to see. If he spelled it correctly orally, then I determined that the writing glitch was the biggest cause of this child’s spelling errors in writing.

Filling in the Spelling Gap
Then, I employed an exercise developed by Dr. Getman, forty years ago called “crossing the midline.” If the child spelled the word incorrectly even when I wrote it in front of him, then I realized that the method, which had thus far been used to teach this child spelling, was not the correct method to use to instruct him.

Thus, I chose two methods that by-passed this problem:

  1. Right Brain spelling: utilizing the child’s strong photographic memory for storing non-phonetic spelling words 
  2. Sequential Spelling: to learn words with a phonetic pattern to them.
Of the two programs, the Right Brain Spelling, utilizing the child’s strong Photographic Memory was the strongest program.

Working Towards the End Goal
To teach paragraph writing skills, I used a very basic step-by-step program I called Right Brain Writing, (I sometimes called this “Writing Without Curriculum”, because it is the parent/teacher working with the child, showing him how to think through all the steps of paragraphing). This method allowed the child to see the end from the beginning and follow an easy path to success. I developed this to be used even for the most basic non-writer. (To receive a free Daily Lesson Plan for the Struggling Writer and Speller, go to my website and download it).

After a child has become adept at creating paragraphs working from a blank piece of paper, using this webbing and transition word method, (usually about nine months), then he often is ready to go on to a more sophisticated writing method developed by the Institute for Excellence in Writing or other programs like that.

It is such a relief for a child to have his glitch identified and, based on that information, to utilize new methods of teaching him. Your child will be grateful.


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January 03, 2018

Setting Priorities as a Busy Mom

By Melissa Smith

Happy New Year! As we begin a new year and look to the future, let's talk about priorities. Balancing life as a wife, homeschooling mama, and a woman with dreams of her own takes a lot of grace and patience. As we juggle our daily schedules and goals for the year, interruptions to our plans and challenges often arise. These reroutes can be hard on our hearts as our time gets reallocated and our priorities shift. 

Over the years, my priority shifts and reroutes have included: setting aside the dream of a photography business for homeschooling, adjusting a schedule for a sick child, rerouting when our home flooded, and learning we need to school differently because of special needs. I've set goals for this year, and I imagine you have too. What do we do then, when life throws us a curveball?

As I discussed this with a dear friend of mine, she reminded me of God's provision for us. With her permission, I'd like to share with you a few of her thoughts and close with a few of my own.

"When I was at one of my lowest points after the biggest physical injury of my life, I'll never forget what my physical therapist told me. He explained to me how God created our bodies intelligently and masterfully so that when in crisis our bodies know instinctively to prioritize problems and face them one at a time. The order is always the same with the heart and lungs always taking top priority. So in a case where there are many competing problems or injuries, our bodies only take on the top priority first. As each one is resolved the body takes on the next in line. This made so much sense to me at the time because my back, which has been a lifelong issue, became a non-issue immediately after my head injury. As my head healed, my back, which was silent for so long after my fall, suddenly made its voice heard again. Whether we realize it or not, I believe we prioritize things mentally and emotionally just like our bodies prioritize its different systems."

This wonderful wisdom and insight about our bodies reflects a couple beautiful lessons for us as we set priorities for our homes and families this year. January has arrived and the future lies before us with possibility. Here are a couple thoughts as we walk forward in the days to come.

1. Make Some Plans

"The heart of man plans his ways, but the Lord establishes his way." Proverbs 16:9

Go ahead! Make some plans this year and dream some dreams with your family. As you do, though, trust God as He directs your steps. The path forward is rarely straight, but the winding path He leads you on is full of adventure, more of Christ, and a fullness of life that is perfectly planned and appointed by God for you. Ask Him to help you adjust your priorities as those curveballs keep coming. 

What dreams do you have for this year?

2. Trust His Timing

"And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in your will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6

Just like our bodies prioritize the greatest need of the moment, we must do the same. Tackle today's challenges and trust God for tomorrow. This past fall, rebuilding our home after the flood became a high priority and took most of our time. I'm trusting God that we will catch up on school in time. Until then, we are savoring the lessons learned in this season.

As I begin the journey of learning about ADHD and Dyslexia, I'm trusting God for the dreams I've set aside for the moment. He will complete the good work He has begun in each of us, and we can trust Him for the path to that completion. 

In what areas do you need to trust God for His timing?

3. Find Peace

"And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

Priorities and plans are often tied to our hearts’ desires, and when they are not met as planned, it hurts. This year we will all face disappointments and setbacks and challenges. However, that is not the whole story. In the midst of those times, God is still at work in our hearts and our homes. 

Commit all your plans, dreams, and priorities for this year to the Lord in prayer. He will form them, ask you to set some aside, redirect them, and even, fulfill some of them. Even so, the greatest reward we receive in prayer is having more of God in our lives. He offers us peace to accept what He gives with joy - even when it is not what we expected! 

In what areas of your life do you need God to guard your heart and mind with His peace?

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