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Healing Teaching




Question: “I am a homeschooling mother of 4, (ages 7-12). I’m at a loss as to how to homeschool my son Nathan, who is 12 years old.  He’s behind in everything. It takes him all day to do his work. He freezes when he looks at his math papers. It takes him forever to write anything.  I know he’s smart, but he says he’s “dumb.”  I want him to be an independent learner, but don’t know how to get him there.”

Answer:  It sounds like Nathan has shut down on school work, and is giving up.  He is doing this because he doesn’t have any other strategies to move on past the “stuck” phase.  This is  the exact population I taught in my 6th, 7th and 8th grade Resource Room.  I called it my “Intensive Care Unit.”  All my students had given up on learning.  In spite of good parents, teachers, and effort on the student’s part, they met with more failure than success.  I knew that I needed to do something different than was going on in the regular classroom, using regular curriculum. They needed what I call, “Healing Teaching.”

What is Healing Teaching?  

Healing Teaching is a teaching method in which the teacher comes along -side a child and gives him learning strategies.  It teaches the child how to use his brain, by modeling this with him. It sets up each lesson to ensure immediate success.  It takes many baby steps towards that success.  There is no “getting behind”, because the work is done together in a finite amount of time, with the goal to learn the material…not necessarily to do all the problems, or all the worksheets.  
The content of the grade level is never compromised, but the method of teaching is turned “upside down.”  As they are gently led to the right answers (and wrong answers ignored, versus pointed out), they begin to relax, and enjoy learning, and become confident in their ability to learn.  This is why I referred to it as my Intensive Care Unit.  I saw these wonderful students as having a severe case of the “learning flu”.  This process can easily be done at home, even with other siblings to teach.

Examples of Healing Teaching Methods

Leading to Correct Answers
We are going to use gentle methods to lead them to the correct answers.  For example, in my Remedial Reading class, my students came into the room, and folded their arms; resistant to any reading aloud, or any phonics program.  What to do?  I took away the non-essential parts of decoding…such as writing, tiles or remembering rules.  I wrote long words on an overhead transparency with the “decoding unit” that we were working on in color in the long word. I also had a picture of the decoding unit, and the sound it gave, taped on the overhead transparency.  If a student sounded out the word incorrectly, but used the decoding unit (like “au”) correctly (remember we had the “au” over the picture of a saw), I would say, “I agree with the first part of the word, now let’s look at that tricky last part. Then I would re-write the last part on the transparency, and we would see if we could find a little word in a big word, or some other strategy.  When we did that, the student found he could always decipher the word correctly. We never went on until we had questioned (together) each part of the word to see how we could tackle it (not a fast method…but a healing method). Their confidence grew, and after a week or so, they were asking to have a chance at the longest word in the list for the day.  You can see how by the end of the year they all tested two years ahead in reading!

Jazzy Spelling
Spelling was always hard for them.  So I showed them how to use their wonderful photographic memory.  We took the longest word, like “psychology” and jazzed up the letters, giving funny meaning, color, and even blood on some of them.  In only one session they found that they could not only spell that word, and the other words we were working on forwards, but they could just as easily spell them backwards. Using Healing Teaching they learned to believe in themselves as learners as they had the secret strategy to easy spelling.

Paragraph Blobs
Writing paragraphs or papers was not easy for them.  We tackled this job together. No workbooks, worksheets or curriculum.  We did this together on the board. We came up with an easy topic, drew “blobs” to put our ideas in, added one word reminders of sentences, and then added the transitions to this Right Brain Webbing method.  The students found that the paper practically wrote itself.   

Careful Correcting
When we were done, we “corrected them together” using an overhead transparency.
At first, they were terrified of this process, and did not want their paper to be used.  But, then they saw what I meant by “correcting”.  I began by giving them points for every good thing they had on the paper.  For example, if they started with a capital letter, they got a point, had an adjective in the sentence, they got a point, ended with a period, they got a point.  I read it out loud, ignoring any spelling errors, and just pointing out the good thoughts, words, or grammar, and giving points for all of that. At the end we added up the points together for prizes (like gum)…they loved it.  

Harvesting Mistakes
They soon were adding many adjectives to their sentences, and more sentences, until we were doing multiple paragraphs.  What did I do with their misspellings (which were numerous)?  I “harvested” them.  That means I made mental notes of the spelling words that we were going to put in our spelling list the next week, and “jazz up” the troublesome letters. They were beginning to feel smart, as they wrote longer, more sophisticated papers each week.

Nathan’s Success
Nathan’s mom reports that just by doing the math on a white board (no video or workbook), modeling how to do them and then making a “template” to put on the wall, that she saw Nathan smile all day.  He was getting things right without having to cross out a checklist in a workbook. Mom said she wanted to cry and even put it in capital letters in her email, “SMILING.”

Grace’s Success
Grace’s mom wrote me about her 15 year- old daughter who was having such anxiety about schoolwork that they had to technically stop schooling her because of the tears and frustration. Upon switching to Healing Teaching with each subject, Grace’s mom says that she is now doing all subjects, and enjoying school!

Emma’s Success
Emma’s mother contacted us because her twelve-year-old was spending a lot of time crying during the school day.   She was frustrated having to re-do her workbooks or because she was experiencing trouble remembering how to do a math problem she had just learned the day before.  We sent Emma’s mom a plan to switch Emma’s school day to include the subjects she needed, but with an entirely “healing” way to teach her, leading her to the right answer each time.  

Her mother called, and Emma told me that she now likes to do school.  She likes to write paragraphs, and loves spelling with her photographic memory.  She is remembering how to do her math problems because her mom has made a zany “template” of each process and kept it on the wall.  Her mom found the secret to helping Emma feel smart.  

Mom made the statement that she had to do an entire “paradigm shift”.  It is difficult to adjust to teaching to success by ignoring mistakes. But, pointing them out tends to wound our already wounded kids. Of course, we eventually want to correct the mistakes, but we wait until the next day, and incorporate that in the lesson, without pointing out the error.  This keeps the healing going.




Long-Term Success


We don’t have to do this forever; in fact, not usually for more than a year. Then they can go back to regular learning.  No more “getting stuck” for these guys!  Experience a “Success-Driven” school year.  It’s easy!



To see more of Dianne's resources, visit www.diannecraft.org



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20 Fall Special Education Homeschooling Activities




It’ that time of year again, when everything is pumpkin flavored, field trips consist of visits to apple orchards, corn mazes, and pumpkin patches…and school starts to develop a routine.

I am all for routine, and so are most of our special education homeschooled kids, but sometimes it’s nice to add a touch of the season to our school lessons.  So, if you’re feeling the need to add some seasonal flair to your special education homeschooling, here are 20 ways to add some fall spice to your schedule.

20 Fall Special Education Homeschooling Activity Links
  1. Fall Candy Science – Ideas on how to use candy corn for a variety of STEM activities
  2. 10 Fall Movement & Sensory Activities – Both inside and outside fall activities
  3. Pumpkin Craft for Speech Activities – Craft and activity that can be used to work on any speech goals
  4. Fall Themed OT Activities – 30 fall activities to choose from to add a seasonal theme to your home-based OT
  5. Fall & Thanksgiving Themed Unit Study – Ideas for fall and Thanksgiving books, crafts, activities, studies, writing projects, and games
  6. Why Do Leaves Change Color Science Project – Using just simple things you already have in your yard and house, you can teach this easy seasonal science lesson
  7. Autumn Sensory Story – Lots of links and ideas on how to create a sensory storytelling experience for a child with multiple learning delays and/or who is blind/visually impaired
  8. Halloween Social Stories – 16 different stories to help teach children learn how to deal with Halloween social situations, as well as 2 videos parents will find helpful
  9. Fall Lego Building Challenges – 20 Lego building challenges all based around the fall seasonal theme
  10. Fall Tree Luminaries Craft – Easy craft project that turns basic jars into glowing works of art
  11. Leaf Preservation Ideas – Learn 3 different ways to preserve beautiful fall leaves
  12. Fall Sight Word Scavenger Hunt – Make reading more active, while working on sight-words with this great outdoor scavenger hunt
  13. Scarecrow Alphabet Activity – Help your child work on letter recognition with this fun scarecrow activity you can create with felt, a die and some stickers
  14. 20 Fall Speech and Language Activities – Lots of great fall resources on this post to help you work with your child on speech and language goals
  15. Fall Leaf I Spy Game – Free printable game of Leaf I Spy
  16. 30+ Pumpkin Learning Activities – Great list of many ways to use pumpkins to teaching learning concepts
  17. 40 Fall Fine Motor Activities – Extensive list of ideas on how to incorporate the fall theme into fine motor skills practice
  18. Fall Books for Speech Therapy – Learn how to use 2 popular fall books to work on speech goals
  19. Pumpkin Writing  - This cute craft and writing project will get your child writing with simple prompts what require short answers on how to step by step carve a pumpkin
  20. Fall Unit Study – This study contains ideas on ways to incorporate the fall theme when teaching literature, language, art, math, science, and even history to your child




For more fall SPED homeschooling ideas, make sure to check out our SPED Homeschool Fall Pinterest Board.  There are new pins being added to the SPED Homeschool Pinterest boards every day, so subscribe to all of them so you don’t miss a thing.

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Your contributions keep our ministry running! 

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Strength Through Fire: Marriage & Special-Needs Parenting



If you are married and parenting a special-needs child or children, you are likely well-acquainted with the marital prognosis bandied about in our circles. It’s not a kind one. Widely shared statistics tell us that the divorce rate for our families lies around eighty percent. Others decry that statistic, but no matter the number, special-needs parenting places great demands on a marriage.

However, there are wonderful things that special-needs parenting creates or deepens in an enduring marriage. I’m writing a series of articles on those things; highlighting strengths developed in the fires of parenting special-needs children and strategies for developing them. I’ll start by sharing a little of our experience and how our marriage has benefited through it.


Our Story
My husband and I married in 1995 and did not have children until 2002. These seven years provided ample time to know one another and plan for children. We both met career, financial and personal goals before conceiving and felt secure that we had laid the best foundation we could to bring children into the family.

Our marriage was well-prepared to support children, but the arrival of our first child threatened everything we had built. Our son was born without the ability to nurse or take a bottle. We spent many long weeks pumping breast milk around the clock, trying to rouse our son to eat, and then spooning the liquid gold into his mouth. Exhaustion and fear over his condition accelerated a fall into postpartum depression.

We beat back the darkness, our son improved. Then we welcomed our second son into the family two years later. Before long, I was battling fears that whatever was affecting my oldest son had also affected his younger brother. By the time our oldest was three-and-a-half, we had identified both our sons were impacted by autism spectrum disorders, among other challenges. Our family was struggling to get through each day and our marriage took some tough blows for the next five years as we came to terms with handling a reality that differed from our expectations and preparations.

As our sons are entering high school, we enjoy an enduring marriage and a host of benefits from weathering the early years of parenting. Here are some marital benefits of special-needs parenting we have discovered along the way.


Still smiling after all these years and lots of tears.... 



What We’ve Gained


Enhanced Sensitivity

Some of us are naturally attuned to the needs of others, while some people struggle to appreciate them. I won’t disclose who is who in our marriage, but we have both grown exponentially in this area. Parenting our children has required us to closely attend to the children’s needs and one another. Thriving together requires recognizing everyone’s needs and balancing them in ways not demanded by typical parenting.


Deep, Honest Communication
When our marriage was suffering, we learned to communicate more deeply, honestly, and quickly when problems arose. Beating around the bush is a luxury confined to times of normalcy and peace. Fighting for our family required honest, forthcoming communication. I developed courage to address unmet needs in myself and children and to express them well to my husband. This was a process, but we hashed out better communication skills and committed to using them.


Deeper Commitment
Our vows were expressed with a commitment to part only in death, yet I questioned them in our darkest times. As my husband struggled with our new realities, my understanding, compassion and forgiveness were lacking. I entertained ideas that it might be easier on my own and had to quickly combat them with truth. I chose to love him better and renewed my commitment to our marriage. He stuck with me through disillusionment, anger and depression. We look back on those times and marvel at how we’ve grown spiritually, emotionally and relationally.




Laughing More

There are many challenging and painful things we encounter, but almost all of them can be viewed with a sense of humor if we are willing to laugh at ourselves and our circumstances. Shared laughter helps us cope with stress and builds unity. Some of our biggest laughs have come from mining humor out of acutely stressful or painful situations. Given the number of those situations inherent to parenting special-needs children, we laugh a lot more.


Coordination and Delegation Skills
Nothing can mold a couple into a tip-top team like managing the schedules, needs and appointments of our families. Balancing work, therapy, school and life demands requires skillful coordination, a team mentality and the ability to delegate. I’m thankful for how we’ve honed these skills over our years of parenting; we can flat get things done.




New Ministry
In the early years of parenting, we had to divide and conquer to meet the challenges that kept coming. One of the few things we could do together in those years was encourage other struggling parents. It helped us stay connected to one another.

We have met many wonderful people through our family’s challenges: doctors, therapists, other parents and those with special needs themselves. These relationships give us a richer life and opportunities to share hope, comfort and encouragement even as we receive them.


These are a handful of the benefits we have enjoyed. I hope they encourage you to recognize your own. I’d love for you to share yours with me! My next article will address strategies for cultivating these benefits.


 

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Your contributions keep our ministry running! 

Donate today on PayPal

(all donations are tax-deductible)

 



This article has been copied with permission from Ambling Grace.

 


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Hands On Bible Memorization




We start every school morning with our Bible Lesson. We have chosen to use My Father’s World because I found it easy for me to modify for my daughter. My children are learning to memorize Bible scriptures and place them in their hearts. I found that my daughter loves to hear scriptures as well as my other two children but needs something tactile to remember them.


Making Scripture Visual
All three of my children are visual and I found the perfect website that helps me teach scripture in both ways. I want to give credit to Hubbard's Cupboard for making my life and planning much easier.


If your verse is not on this list,  you can type up your verse and create your own lesson.


4 Easy Methods for Using Hands-On Teaching
Here are ways I use this website to help my daughter learn, with demonstrations on how you can modify these ideas to meet your child’s needs.

Method 1 - Visuals for Words
Introduce the Bible verse with a coloring sheet that depicts a visual that matches what the verse’s content. I chose Matthew 4:19 and added dots under the words to provide one-to-one correspondence of the words she reads.



Method 2 -  Act It Out
Act it out as you read by using hand motions, such as pretending to catch fish.

Method 3 -  Matching
Take the verse, type it up and cut it so they can match words to words or phrases. You can have your child match and glue the words on top of the given word. You can also have them match it right underneath. This can also address occupational therapy skills if your child is working on cutting and gluing. 
 



Method 4 -  Abbreviated Writing
Have your child write the verse.  If they cannot write, you can have them type it or match up the words like my daughter does. You can shorten as needed or pick the most important phrase you have been working on. My other two children copy this verse down on the lines or in their Bible notebook. I write on one copy and make a copy to reduce work for me.


Something simple and fun can make memorizing Bible verses both engaging  and functional at the same time.  It is amazing how much these steps have helped my daughter memorize scripture.

 

Did you know SPED Homeschool is 100% donor funded? 

Your contributions keep our ministry running! 

Donate today on PayPal

(all donations are tax-deductible)

  





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