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    Friday, January 25, 2008

    Homeschool Hazard

    The girls are working in their workbooks again for "school" and that is going well, all except for the sideways method of learning that Littlebit seems to have. Her incessant need to play dumb, blended with her honest inability to grasp and hold onto basic information and make simple mental connections makes it really difficult to help her learn what she wants to know. We worked for two hours today on a single basic phonics worksheet, and it gets frustrating.

    Part of me wants to blame her lead poisoning as an infant for her current learning difficulties, and sometimes I feel like if she were diagnosed with a learning disability by a paid professional, I'd feel a bit less like a failure, and a bit more relaxed about her speed of absorbing information. Then again, I know that no matter what anyone says, even me, I am the one who has to discover her learning style and adapt her educational opportunities to fit her.

    I have always said the she's recovered from her earlier learning problems, and I will never say anything about her being slow to her, unlike my mother, who is constantly mentioning how much repetition she needs to be able to remember anything. That's a stigma I refuse to allow into her mind if I can in any way help it, but I know.

    I know she's not capable of learning the same way other kids are. I know she's behind for where she wants herself to be, and I know that reading three letter words should be easier for her than basic multiplication. It just isn't for some reason, and she struggles so hard. She will know a word one second, repeat it ten times, read a few words she knows on sight, then not be able to read the first word, mere seconds later. I've never taught a child to read before, but I don't think that's normal. Maybe if she had a couple of hours to forget the word, or got distracted for a few minutes even, it would make more sense to me, but this is a completely alien land I have stumbled into.

    Is this normal?

    Am I panicking?

    Are there free resources out there that can help us to better help her reach her goals more easily?

    I felt so lost when I started this post last week, and even now, I am only just beginning to get the slightest clue as to how she learns. I have a lot of studying to do to figure out how to make this process easier for her.

    I am pleased however, to announce that unlike other children, when she has grasp of something, she never lets go. After learning the _at words the other day, she shocked and amazed me by not only remembering them all the next day, but also writing them down for me, spelling them out loud, saying them when they were spelled to her, and writing them on her own, just for fun. She still has a solid grasp of the words a week later. It is a relief to know that the repetition required to teach the first part of a thing will not have to be repeated ad nauseum for each aspect of understanding.

    We are all so proud of her, but the best part is that she is proud of herself.

    7 comments:

    Cynthia Samuels said...

    Krystina I so empathize. And I don't know much about your situation. But insurance often covers evaluative testing if it is done by an Educational Psychologist and learning the nature of the issue makes it so much easier to remediate.
    I have one (grown) son with serious dyslexic type issues and another who just has my level of chaos, so I know the frustration. But getting a specific diagnosis really really helped us find help for him.

    The other thing I'd do is go to ldonline.org. It's a cooperative site between WETA, the DC PBS station and all these groups** -- so you know they're right on. I really admire what they've done - they're a great resource.

    One other is Great Schools, schwablearning.org funded by the Schwab Investment guy because he has LD himself and so do his kids.

    If you want to call me and talk about this email me and I'll call you.

    You are so committed and dedicated; you just need more tools to work with. Testing can make a huge difference and provide many of those tools, I suspect. Check your Gov insurance -- and I see you linked to MOCHA MAMA a while ago; write to her; she knows plenty about all this too.
    ** * Center for Implementing Technology in Education
    * Division for Learning Disabilities (DLD) of the Council for Exceptional Children
    * The International Dyslexia Association
    * National Center for Learning Disabilities
    * National Center for Technology Innovation
    * National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
    * National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities

    Kathi said...

    Krys, you are doing fine trying to teach her to read. Just remember that you don't really teach anyone to read, you enable her to learn to read. That means you give her the tools and she figures out how to do it her way and that way is the best for her. All brains are different and we all learn things differently.
    Also, have you tried kinesthetic methods with her? I know, wiki isn't everything, but it will give you an idea of what it is.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinesthetic_learning

    I know a kid that was bright, personable and smart, but didn't learn to read till middle school, but once he figured it out, he now reads a lot.

    Kathi

    The Mama Bear said...

    Time is the answer...even to this day we have issues with Micheyal and flipping letters and numbers...she can even write a full sentence backwards without batting an eye.
    Cherish the positives, stay consistent and this too shall only be a stepping stone in the process.
    Pop by the Cafe, have a crazy award that I feel my fellow moms may especially be able to relate to...I am not giving it out, you have to snag it, as I shall not judge, lest I be judged. :)

    psychicgeek.com said...

    That *is* the best part.
    What colour are her eyes?
    I have a theory about eye colour and learning modalities.

    Rambleman said...

    She is only *7*, right? Personally, I think that it's too early to labled her as learning challenged. She's young yet, and I'm sure you're doing fine and she'll be "up to speed" in no time. Or not, every child learns at their own pace, as you know, so I think time will sort things out.

    Whimspiration said...

    Cynthia, thanks so much for the advise! I'll go check out the resources when I have a better connection.

    Kathi, you have a point there, maybe I should bring out the exercise ball for her to sit on durint learning time. It may indeed be part of the answer.

    Mama Bear, Thanks for the kind words, and the pressie. I'll be over in a jiffy.

    PsychicGeek, She's got the most lovely shade of blue. I'll try and post a picture here in the next few days for you.

    Rambleman, thanks for the support hun. I know it will all be fine in the end, but getting to that end may be more of a struggle for us all than I had first thought. This is also my first time I have taught someone to read. I took Ladybug out of school in thrid grade, when she was already reading at a 5th grade level, so I didn't have to do anythingwith her at all for that.

    Evil said...

    My daughter has on and off reading problems. One day she is reading alice and wonderland, through the looking glass (not the disney make over children books but the "real" books) and the next she struggles with the most simple reading tasks.

    I have found having her read every day helps a lot. I have also herd children with reading problems should read simple comics. The pictures kind of tell the story and can help them figure out the words.

    Reading is something that you help her figure out not so much teach her. You help her find her own style and try diffrent things that work for her.

    For some reason learning to play the recorder has helped her with reading and spelling a lot. I dont know if it relaxes her mind and lets her take more in or if reading music is some how helping her.

    I get flustered with it to. I just dont know why she can read a word on second and then 4 words later can not read the same word.

    Some days I think shes just to smart for her own good and is bored out of her mind.
    Things like her spellng tests being backwards (words and letters if that makes sence), or her adding two numbers and getting the answer she would if she subtracted them, makes me feel that way.
    But some days she seems so flustered her self that I think its a learning dissabilty that people dont know about.
    and some days I just feel like im doing something wrong.

    Its so hard when your child is doing something you just dont understand.