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"I've enjoyed the magazine, the emails that come out on Wednesdays, the website that has some great stuff on it, and now Schoolhouseteachers.com. Not only are they good resources and very encouraging, but the writers and the customer service people I've contacted for various things have been extra nice."
"I look forward to THM every Wednesday. I really enjoy Deborah's articles. For some reason, it must be God, she always writes about what I am needing to hear. Her ability to put scripture and God in the middle of all her articles keeps me coming back. I recently have been enjoying the Young's because I have a young man (10) in my house. The encouragement of the Young's is fabulous. I thank God for parents like them that pave the way for parents like myself and my husband."
Glen Burnie, Maryland
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--Teresa, rural Kansas
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|The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine|
November 28, 2012
Thriving With Special Needs
Deborah Wuehler and family
Want to hear some encouraging news? You can teach your child at home successfully, even and especially if they have special needs! In fact, much research suggests that special needs children actually thrive in a home education setting. Where else can your special needs child enjoy one-on-one attention, special instruction, physical help, full understanding, and strong support for their physical, mental, educational, and spiritual needs?
One of our children who has Aspergers symptoms graduated from our homeschool this last May and at an earlier age than most "regular" kids. I know that keeping her home where she belongs is why she was successful, and will continue to be.
Because of her special needs, we learned to focus on what was important and required and then we were able to cut out everything else. When I didn't know what to do, I prayed, and God intervened. He providentially favored her with a volunteer job in a therapeutic horse riding facility for a year before she graduated, and gave her a vision to pursue a unique trade in equine massage. She has had two jobs since high school graduation and can now pay for trade school this spring. God's success story to be sure!
God has plans that we don't know or understand when our children are young and challenging. Over time, and through faith in God's Word that He rewards our obedience, we continue on day by day, ever seeking Him until He guides us where He wants His special children to be.
We have a faithful God who is the Author and Finisher of our faith and of our special children. Each one is God's "poema"--his workmanship--created in Christ Jesus for good works. God desires to use all of our special needs for His special Glory!
TOS Senior Editor
Visionaires Music Academy
The traditional route of learning music through an instrument or voice can be difficult (but not impossible) when a student has special needs. However, there is more to music education than private lessons. Below are some ideas from our Frugality Forte article that could easily be adapted to students with special needs.
- Music History: If you can, locally take a trip to somewhere with musical significance. Or there are some great DVDs on music history like the Ken Burns series. However, regarding content, preview everything because some music history/figures can have sordid past.
- Music Appreciation: I always enjoyed having my students watch My Fair Lady or Singing in the Rain and then developing worksheets for them to complete. Especially Singing in the Rain since it mixes music, dance, and the historical moment of sound becoming integrated with movies. It is great to learn about 1920's fashion, cars, and the talkies.
- Ethnomusicology: Learning about another culture can be a great musical experience. Studying the steel drum (Trinidad/Tobago), African High Life, Peking Opera, or Russia Balalaika Music (The Man Who Knew Too Little anyone?) can be a lot of fun and pique interest in further study in music down the road. The internet/YouTube can be a great resource for ethno musicological studies.
Also, depending on the student's situation, our Recorder Rock class is an easier way to learn an instrument. The 6 month program can be easily adapted. Just let us know what your situation is, and we can help you alter the instruction. I hope this article gave you some ideas, and I want to encourage you to keep teaching! Homeschooling is worth it.
Jarrod Bell is the Founder and Director of Visionaires Music Academy, a ministry/academy in one.
Visit www.visionaires.org for the full article. Visionaires
Music Academy has rolling enrollment. You can enroll in classes a few times throughout the year. VMA has the following courses open:
Get Me Started™
Beginner's piano course for 7th-12th
The Musician's Brain™
A different type of ear training course for all musicians wanting to enhance their abilities.
An instrumental course that uses an academic recorder to teach music. Great to test the waters for a more expensive instrument. (4th grade+)
For all courses, visit www.visionaires.org. For closed classes, sign up to receive notifications when the classes open.
Todd Wilson, Familyman Ministries
You know this already, but I'm a maverick . . . an off-grid type of writer . . . one that the good folks at The Old Schoolhouse should have checked out before hiring me for this job. So, I'm thinking I'm not really going to write about thriving with special needs. After all, it's the Wednesday after Thanksgiving which just begs something Christmassy.
In fact, my wife has already told me I need to talk to our kids about not wanting to do school because they are already in Christmas-mode!!
I'm telling you, there's just something in the air as soon as the Christmas tree goes up, and for us, that was a couple days ago. I know that most every mom reading this cringes at the thought of all the Christmas stress. It's kind of sad to me . . . but I know my wife feels it, too.
You have lists and responsibilities, gifts to buy, wrap, and make, goodies to bake, costumes to sew, pageants to practice for, cards to write and address, and sheesh, I'm starting to get stressed just thinking about all the stuff that stresses YOU out.
But here's the deal: Christmastime is a gift to you. In the same way my entire family gets to enjoy the birthday of one of its members, you get to enjoy His birthday celebration along with your family.
I know it's kind of hard to enjoy the process along the way sometimes, so I started a daily blog to baby-step you to Christmas. I hope it helps you enjoy the coming days & your family, and allows you the freedom to enjoy God's greatest gift-His Son.
P.S. It's our annual Magenta Monday Sale . . . TODAY (on Wednesday). If you order ANY, and I mean ANY, Christmas or non-Christmas item from our website today, we'll take 15% off your entire ORDER. Now's the time to get our Christmas game you've been wanting . . . or all SIX Christmas read-alouds . . . or even the 2013 You 'da Dad Daily Calendar for your husband. Hurry! You only have until midnight tonight. At checkout use this code--THMSALE.
Hurry, order now!!!
Thanks to all our Black Friday partners for providing you with great deals during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. If you missed these specials, these great companies are still
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I love the word "thrive." It speaks of life and growth, of beauty and joy, of fruitfulness and satisfaction, doesn't it? Rather than mere survival, thriving gives us comfort in the present and hope for the future. What a precious and appropriate word to consider as we parent each of our uniquely created children.
My mother-in-law was the first Special Education teacher in her school district many decades ago. Her heart was especially drawn to children who had learning difficulties, because if her last baby had lived beyond birth, this little girl would have had extreme challenges. (It amazes me how God weaves the events of our lives in such a way as to make us a blessing to others.)
My husband grew up knowing and enjoying these children whom many ignored. In fact, when I met Bill in college, I saw first hand the way he interacted with severely handicapped students. He enjoyed them, speaking to them with respect, honor, and humor. He learned about their lives, their dreams, their perspectives--an enriching and valuable experience.
In order to parent each child, whether or not they have special needs, we first have to see each one as an individual, created in the image and likeness of God, with immense value. That provides the foundation of loving-kindness and gentleness. To see our children thrive, we need to build on this foundation by humbling ourselves, listening to them, and respecting them even when we don't understand what they are thinking.
But what does that look like in day-to-day life? Theories and platitudes are all well and good, but in the trenches of homeschooling, how do we put these concepts into practice?
Well, I saw an incredible example of it recently. My dear friend has three children--two of them adopted from a difficult situation. Learning how to parent and teach this precious pair has been a journey for her, a path of humility and love. This path intertwined with mine when I crawled into the front seat of her car last week. In the mysterious workings of "who sits where, when, and why," my friend asked her son to move to a different seat. Instantly, the temperature inside the car rose as a torrent of emotion and words began to swirl around our heads. So far, everything felt uncomfortably normal.
But when humility and respect merge in a heart of love, uncommon things happen. Without raising her voice, she calmly got out of the car, asked her son to show her what the problem was with the chosen spot, and then unraveled the seat belt in such a way as to allow him to be comfortable in his seat. With the quiet end of the storm, a tangible peace pervaded the car. I sat in astonishment at what I had just witnessed. As my friend gently interacted with her son, listened to his distress, and then respectfully helped him sort through the problem--while never losing her role as parent--each one emerged a winner. He was not ignored or thoughtlessly condemned, his concerns were addressed, and his heart was satisfied. She was not ignored or willfully dismissed, she responded in humility, and her heart of love for him was demonstrated. And I had the amazing opportunity of watching this incredible demonstration of love in action.
The SENSEsational Alphabet is a completely interactive ABC picture book focusing on integrated sensory methods to learning. This enables all children, regardless of their strengths and weaknesses, to build a basis for fundamental communication skill development. Book incorporates visual stimuli, movement, touch, smell, sound, Braille and Sign language. www.SENSEsationalAlphabet.com. 908-337-8201.
Want fast, real and lasting changes in handwriting?
Focus on letter size. Form will follow. Letter size seems
to be the variable impacting legibility most. When children understand the Rules on Letter Size, changes in the appearance of their written work can happen overnight. Learn more at www.realOTsolutions.com.
Raising Real Men
Hal & Melanie Young
We have some special needs in our family and there are a few things we sure wish we'd known from the beginning:
Sometimes special needs, especially in learning, don't look like you'd expect. One of our sons just couldn't seem to learn to read, and we couldn't believe it. Surely it must be the wrong curriculum, we thought. Maybe he wasn't trying hard enough. Maybe we were doing something wrong. Our son was incredibly bright, witty, and socially adept. It took forever for us to realize that he also had a learning disability.
Everyone needs prayer and encouragement. Even though our son was homeschooled and surrounded by brothers who loved him, he felt inferior. He could look around and see he wasn't able to do the things they could at his age, even though they never teased him. On the other hand, Melanie was under tremendous stress herself. She felt like a failure, too, like somehow she should have been able to make it easier for him. It's hard for everyone and they all need praise.
Don't be afraid to ask for help. There are a ton of resources out there that can help you navigate this new path you find yourself on. HSLDA's "Homeschooling a Struggling Learner" was a huge help to us. NATHHAN is a good resource, too. For us, Dianne Craft's materials were a particular blessing since our son was severely dyslexic. You may be surprised to find out how much help is available.
There's hope. It was amazing to us--and many other families have found the same thing--that after our son got the help he needed, he caught up quickly. Some of our boys read at age 4; while this son didn't read well until almost 11, but by the age of 14 they were all pretty much on the same level. And our dyslexic son learned a great deal about diligence and determination that will help him succeed in the future.
God has a purpose. There's a reason this challenge has come into your lives. As we dealt with special needs in our house, we learned a lot about patience, trust, persistence, and love. It helped us recognize the truth that ". . . all things work together for good to them that love God" (Romans 8:28). Who knows--maybe one day you and your now-struggling learner will be able to look back at what you've been through and "be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God" (2 Corinthians 1:4)!
By His grace,
Hal & Melanie
Melanie and our son Samuel share their story, "Surviving Struggling to Read" in the October issue of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Click here. We think it'll encourage you!
What other time of the year can you knock on a stranger's door, bellow the gospel at him, and have him respond, "Please, can't you sing just one more?" Learn how to put on a Caroling Party and many other great ideas to help you keep the focus on Christ in the busy-ness of this season in our gorgeous, downloadable book Christ-Centered Christmas: The Ultimate Guide to Celebrating a Christmas Your Family Will Never Forget!
Join Our Free Online
Schoolhouse Expo This Week!
Time: November 29th 7pm (4pm Pacific)
You Can Teach Music in Your Homeschool!
"Joy Sikorski speaks on Voice 101:
The Crucial Need for Quality Vocal
Training and What You Can Do About It"
Joy Sikorski is an award winning film composer, author, conference speaker, performer and teacher. She raised her three children (now adults) in a log cabin she helped build in Alaska and was one of the pioneers of homeschooling in that state, flying to remote areas to give parents and students the knowledge and encouragement they needed to succeed.
and singbabysing.com for tips and insights about the importance of your voice and the voices of your children.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
We will have a vendor workshop from
New Song Music Studios.
Music for Little Learners is a curriculum created with the homeschool parent in mind. Creative teaching tools make learning fun! Innovative lessons open doors to literature, math, writing and more. Your children will know how to
read notes, play songs and identify music symbols. Come
to the Expo to see our lessons in action. Visit
Join our Free Online Schoolhouse Expo on
Thursday, November 29th, at 7 p.m. EDT!
(6 p.m. CDT, 5 p.m. MDT, 4 p.m. PDT)
Check out all the details at
Reserve your FREE seat now---only 1000 available!
"Ducks are fun to watch. As they walk on land, their waddling looks so awkward and often comical. But when they take to the water or the air, they become masters of their environment."
Read more in the article Darling Ducks and Their Divine Design.
Tis' the season to bless special needs families and single parents!
Read the article
Reaching Beyond Our Family
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
For the month of November, 2012
Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers
The fourth book in the Circle C Adventures series, Andrea Carter and the San Francisco Smugglers, continues the story of a young girl, Andi, growing up in the San Joaquin Valley of California. We last left Andi in the fall of 1880. This story picks up in the winter of 1881 as the excitement of a flood in her community quickly draws you into the story within the first three pages. This book continues in similar size and style as the others in the series: a 5 ½ x 8 ½ inch glossy soft cover book of 138 pages and 18 chapters, plus a Historical Note. References to Andi's previous experiences will likely lead a first-time Circle C Adventures reader to her other books and will refresh the memory of seasoned fans. The storyline stands alone and is not dependent on the other books in the series. Although the series is enjoyable reading designed for students in the "tween" years, those in upper-elementary grades and lower teenage years will also find them enjoyable. Susan K. Marlow continues her trend in quality reading as she upholds family values, references the Bible, and offers a wonderful glimpse into the life of a Christian girl during the 1880s. Although the series is not written exclusively for home schools, it is written by a home-schooling mother who provides clean, quality reading materials for children. There are no additional materials required to enjoy this book, but readers should not miss the opportunity to download and print the free PDF Enrichment Guide available from her website, www.susankmarlow.com. The unit study of 38 pages is freely available and expands the educational value of the book considerably.
(. . .)
Read the rest of this review here.
You can win this book and the lapbook!
with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "SF Smugglers" for a chance to win* the book and lapbook for your homeschool!