So glad I landed on this little treasure. I can’t wait to explore all the cool sites that have been shared here. Hoping stoke the coals and build a tiny flame.
Tag Archives: homeschool
Dysgraphia: Ideas for Building the Hand for Writing
In a Montessori Early childhood program preparations for writing and building the hand begin at birth. Since Maria Montessori saw the hand as the child’s instrument to understand the world around him she carefully prepared materials to aid the child in building control of movement, and sensitivity of touch. These are ideas that get lost in typical early childhood programs and many times a child is holding a pencil before her hand and body are ready to support this detailed and concentrated work. As a parent of a child with dyspraxia, I know all too well the challenges of an inefficient system of motor planning and movement that needs explicit, and repeated practice to master many organized movements, whether of the hand the body the eyes the mouth all the magnificent orchestrations that occur in our daily work. I happened on to this nice list of supports that may be of assistance to you in your efforts to aid your child to build themselves and their improve their motor control and strength of hand. There’s not a moment to lose. http://www.dyspraxiafoundation.org.uk/downloads/handwriting_and_dyspraxia.pdf
FCTD | Disability Intellectual Disability
Some nice resources for students with Intellectual Disabilities can be found here.
FCTD | Disability Intellectual Disability.
31 Speech And Language Apps For iPad
31 Speech And Language Apps For iPad. This site seems to have a very thoughtful collection of apps that may be helpful to anyone using the ipad for a supplement to reading and language development. I love this technology but now need some help with scheduling it’s use. Is there an app for that?
Avoiding Power Struggles with Children
Insight or Rambling? Perfection or Chaos? Never sure.
Curriculum? – Special Needs Homeschool. This article has helped me take a breath. Observation is the key here. There are very specialized programs that have been successful for children with specific challenges. Use all of your observations that you have made about your child to help you decide on how you will approach their learning. As a Montessori Teacher that is now homeschooling, without the many materials of the classroom to work with, and a student that is 13 years old, who has had virtually nothing presented to him successfully or respectfully since he was 8….I’m a little anxious to get it right from the start. At least I have the years of IEP meetings under my belt. Right? Those were useful.
Here’s the way I look at it, (please suspend judgement, as I’m just trying to sort it out myself),
He can find anything in the house, remembers where everything is, and knows what everyone is doing and what they are supposed to do. He reminds me of what I need when I walk out the door, how I was going to give back Aunt Janet’s bag, or how someone left their pearl necklace at the house and he will tell you when on Emergency 51 (a love of old TV series)John Gauge forgot to put the oil cap on before he and his partner ran off on another emergency.
He loves/hates high intensity emotions! Lucille Ball was therapy. This was important to recognize and it took me forever to figure out. I was for much of his life very entertaining until I discovered the Nurtured Heart Approach. What he lost in a very entertaining mother (of course in times when running down the street screaming looked like a viable option), he gained in the restoration of parents who learned to spend 0 energy on the bad stuff and 150% of the energy on everything else including…”I can see that you are sitting at the table in front of your work, your showing determination!” Surprisingly (actually shockingly) more effective than any number of negatives like: “Your not going to get your work done if…”, “what choices are you making right now?”, “Get back to work.” Or my favorite used by all of his Special Education teachers “Focus!” kind of ironic since much of why he is in that classroom is because he can not focus. Of course there are many more. His emotional intensity, excitability, and his constant attraction to the same, showed me what how I needed to proceed or at least guided me to the work that now has been very successful, respectful and has brought joy back to our relationship. It is not easy, nor are we perfect, but it is dramatically better and I now feel as though I have a clearer path. By the way, this method, though there are many that will speak of their personal success with their children, was not ever suggested by any of the specialists we went to see over the last 10 years.
On days that he has swimming and has gymnastics he is more organized in himself, his speech seems more organized and he seems grounded and calm. This doesn’t come with a long walk or vigorous play for him.
For him, throwing a ball back and forth between activities, standing on a basketball while watching a video, or listening to me read, helps. I found that out by watching him for successful moments in many different areas.
He needs a motivator. I know because he said “could you please tell me that if I get my work done I get to watch 2 TV shows” (Dick Van Dyke and Emergency).
He can’t count well but he can see and manipulate quantities. So we use Right Start Math. He loves funny things, so we use Life of Fred to build critical thinking in math. He loves intensity plus visuals to get the juices flowing and the curiosity going, so we are heavy users of YouTube, Sophia.org, TED, WatchKnowLearn, Netflix , Jason Project, Space Lab with Bill Nye. He has memory issues so we can watch more than once, we can pause to discuss, or re-watch (because he was preoccupied with a buzzing noise and missed the first part).
He lOOOOVes to act. So he can re enact, show with his hands to help his words, and this he remembers well. He’s kinesthetic, but coupled with experience, emotion and intensity. He can’t just walk around the letter and know it or feel it. Those are great strategies, but he needs it all amped up and with a context to live in so he can remember it. We also signed him up with a very small, and community oriented theater with a director that believed that community has lots of different members and everyone belongs and makes a difference.
He loves to serve others, he’s a good judge of character and can see an agenda a mile away. He is energetically tied to everything and everyone. Check your energy at the door. He is loyal. He will take care of you in surprising ways, and can give a toast at the dinner table that is strikingly thoughtful and calmly stated. He has trouble managing his energy, but he’s like a his own private party. It’s loud, there’s dancing, and exuberant hugging, there’s sure to be breakage but his global positioning somehow guides him and nothing is bruised or broken by amazement. Gifts amidst chaos.
He uses small stones to hold his “memory place”. He attaches meaning to a rock or something else and that takes the place of his memory challenge. For example a rock can be a sound, a word, an answer on a multiple choice quiz, the name on a list of names etc. He can’t hold it in his mind yet but he can hold it in the rocks. He uses it when writing sentences, sometimes a rock can be the missing whatever. It’s a mental placeholder. So on our “classroom shelf” sits a silver box of rocks which my husband and I purchased well before children, and used to call our “silver box memories”. Who knew?. We are currently working on improving his visualization skills so that the rocks can be in his head, so to speak. (I’m not sure but I think my father accused me of such at one point, and then you might too.)
We go to learning specialists, carefully selected for kindness, a generous personality, and a willingness to think on their own and observe carefully. In the area of Language we felt that trained practitioners were a necessary part of his learning. And through observation of his success (defined as joyful participation, independent work, and progress) with Montessori Materials and it’s sequential sequence, LIPS, and former practice with Spalding, and his enjoyment of Talking Fingers and Wordy Qwerty, not to mention all the scientific studies that point to the same, that a Systematic and Sequential Program for the 5 components of learning to read were imperative if learning to read were to be possible given his challenges. We have chosen LIPS, and Seeing Stars and a program call Read Live plus the available Montessori Language materials in sequence on the shelf for independent work. He gets LIPS from a Tutor and I do the Seeing Stars program at home. I intend to get training as soon as it’s feasible. For learning to type we still use Talking Fingers. I wish that I could see 10 years in the future and be able to tell you how successful all this has been, but like you I can not, and I remind myself that neither can most of the professionals we have seen. I must believe in him till it hurts and believe in myself as much.
We are still settling on an overall curriculum to guide us, I am looking at the Montessori 6-12 curriculum from Keys to the Universe, and doing the online training. (This would provide a foundation, but the materials and the environment and community would be limited), and Oakmeadow Curriculum which has a focus on the interconnectedness of all things. This big picture of our place in the world is a helpful context for which to stick his bits of information that are sometimes hard to hold on to and hard to relate to the other bits.
I remind myself frequently that I took many college prep classes at a private high school, got good grades, passed many tests, went to college and use a fraction of what I learned today. I remind myself the sum of my life is not the Standards of Education, not my profession, not my possessions, but the amount of joy that is in my life. Joy for me comes with nature (which is sadly lacking) good friends, great information, inspiration, happiness in my children, and at peace with myself as a parent, a friend, a wife (also sadly lacking), and satisfaction that I am making a difference in the world (working on that). Right now I am settling for inspiration, information, and good friends, the rest is in the improvement stages. For the life I’ve been drawn to, I have what I need, and what I don’t have I can find, after that I just need courage, and perhaps a course in writing.
Articles on empowering greatness in your children and transforming challenging behavior
Articles that transform your relationships with your children. I have experienced this transformation first hand. This is work worth doing! As a teacher, and parent I had tried everything. Just prior to choosing to homeschool (something I never thought was possible given our relationship) I read Transforming the Difficult Child by Howard Glasser in Tuscon, Arizona. It changed everything so quickly for us. I found myself joyfully loving my son again and really seeing all that he did well for the first time in a long time. I am grateful for this new perspective and refuse to go back.
21 Exceptionally Valuable Asperger’s Sites
This was included in one of our group emails and thought I would pass it on to anyone else. It looks like there is much to be gained from the insights shared in these beautiful blogs. I hope one day this blog will be note worthy and helpful to as many as these are. Enjoy the hunt and the moments spent with your children especially when you remembered to laugh! 21 Exceptionally Valuable Asperger’s Sites. The photo here is from quirkyandlaughing.wordpress.com, a blog written from this perspective as well. I am reminded by observation, that I forget to laugh at antics that I would normally think were funny if they were they were performed by my typical son. I get frustrated by the filters through which I am constantly looking and how those particular filters can, if I’m not conscious color my world in ways I would not otherwise intend. Mindfulness practice, I think would serve me well to stay in a place where I can see things for what they are in the moment and not judge them by how they will be perceived by others ALL the time. This thinking lives in my fears about the future, stories of mis-judgements that lurk in my thoughts. I can’t make them go away but I can put them in their place with mindfulness and a perspective check. I am grateful to those around me that have given me that insight without really even knowing how valuable. The young man at Hubbard Swim school who recognizes that unencumbered play is just as important as learning swim strokes! I have learned so much about my son just by watching him with this teen. Noticing that my worries don’t exist for others who enjoy my son’s energy and enthusiasm and good will. I often wish to be them, for a moment, and seek to find that mindful space where I too, can enjoy his beautiful nature without the fears of the future or concerns that win my attention. One thing to be sure of is we are always learning.
2012 ESA Webinar-my personal notes
The following are my personal notes from the ESA Webinar held on July 26th by Aiden Fleming from the Arizona Deptartment of Education.
- ESA members are responsible for the education of their child
- ESA members are responsible for the administration and record keeping of all purchases, obtaining certifications from professionals, turning in Expenditure reports on times indicated on the ESA website – http://www.azed.gov/esa/.
ESA funds can be used for :
Tuition – private school, University, college, public or charter school classes, summer school class or other classes (may require special arrangement between you and the school for payment – they must require payment) swimming, karate, etc may be listed as tuition.
Curriculum– as defined on the ESA Website – http://www.azed.gov/esa/
You may purchase whole curriculum, or subject curriculum. Curriculum may be sold in kit form with needed materials included in the kit. For single items purchased separately think “single use” only. It sounded like they would prefer if materials were included in the curriculum kit, or bundle. If materials or teaching guides are part of the bundle, that’s accepted. No hardware, or consumables or field trips may be purchased. Buying software is okay. Buying from educational companies is preferred and may be easier due to the coding switches on the card. If an educational company denies the card you can fill out a form at the ESA website: http://www.azed.gov/esa/ to submit site for approval. You may purchase more than one curriculum per subject. You may purchase books from reading lists called for by the curriculum (Be sure to make copies of any “required lists). If in doubt call or email for verification. You may NOT order from EBAY or Craigslist, and apps from itunes can not yet be purchased. It was suggested to check other Educational type sites to purchase apps at this time.
*Payments can be made by Paypal or Swipe or online.
Tutoring– Tutors or the Center they work for must have National or Regional certifications as indicated on the ESA Website – http://www.azed.gov/esa/.
Educational therapies – (not Medical) Speech, OT, Vision, Behavioral, aquatic, equestrian, etc… Certifications are required. You may pay for as many or as much therapy with your funds as you deem necessary. Using funds for copay for these therapies may be okay.
Non approved expenditures will be removed from future disbursements. (Gross misuse of funds will be reported to the Attorney Generals Office for investigation).
ParaPros – These individuals need to have the certifications as listed on the ESA website – http://www.azed.gov/esa/, and must be paid by swipe or paypal.
Renewal of IEP (not MET- this is still the responsibility of your district school)- the expense for the IEP may be paid for with ESA funds.
Expenditure Reports – All expense reports must have
- REPORT FORM itemized and filled out (found on ESA website – http://www.azed.gov/esa/ to print)
- MERCHANT RECEIPTS, PAYPAL RECEIPTS
- ESA CARD BANK STATEMENT (To verify money removed)
- INCLUDE – COPIES OF CURRICULUM LISTS (copies of ex. reading lists or approved material lists)
- TURN IN ON TIME BY 5pm on the dates listed on the http://www.azed.gov/esa/
- Receipts MUST be clear not smudged or faded (keep copies for yourself of documents turned in)
- Turn in early enough that if there are corrections to be made you can make them before the deadline and still receive your next disbursement on time.
If you miss the deadline your disbursement will not be available at it’s designated time. If you are more than 30 days late you may be removed from the program. IF NO MONEY WAS SPENT SUBMIT REPORT ANYWAY.
Other bits of information that were discussed:
There are currently 300 enrolled everyone will be audited do not let that worry you if you get a call. Non approved expenditures will be removed from future disbursements as long as it is not a gross misuse of funds
- Your MET must be up to date to renew enrollment (your home district or private school district is responsible to evaluate be sure to send a letter requesting re-evaluation for MET update, to start the 60 day compliance requirement. Call ESA if there is a problem with refusal, you may have to go through due process if refusal continues.
Transition plans – If IEP indicates a need till 22 yrs old ESA funding will continue, but if not indicated funding will stop at 12th grade. Note: I’m personally a little confused about this 12th grade issue and need more clarification myself on Transitional phase. I do know that Aiden said that it must be indicated on the IEP that services are needed until 22 years of age.
DDD is not a conflict with funds received through ESA and would not affect services there.
Application for Enrollment is currently once a year (at designated time) but it was indicated that it may change in the future years.
Money that is still in your account rolls over each quarter as long as you are enrolled. Money can be moved into 529 account for Community College or University for the previously enrolled child to be spent on their college courses. Money can not be removed by the State after it is in the 529. Moneys that are in your account will not be touched for 4 years after child in no longer in program (12th Grade).
Program was recently expanded to include Military children, those attending D or F graded schools, Foster Care or Adopted children that were previously wards of the state. Children without primary (as listed on Funding Chart available on the ESA Website http://www.azed.gov/esa/) could receive $3200-$3700 per year (dispersed quarterly) when enrolled.
ESA phone number 602-364-1969 If in doubt call or email with questions, AZ ESA website- http://www.azed.gov/esa/
I hope this is helpful to anyone that visits my blog. If you notice mistakes please email corrections to me or leave it in the comments. This information is strictly from my personal notes and is not a copy of what was presented.