Schoolhouse Review Crew

              The Homeschool Minute

October 9, 2013
                          Brought to you from the makers of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine


                               Are you teaching a special learner?                                             

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The Wuehler Family

We have written an abundance of articles about special learners over the years, through The Homeschool Minute™ email, and through The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine. Here is just one article of many titled, "Ten Reasons to Homeschool Your Child With Special Needs."   


Rather than talking about these special, struggling, and different learners, I want to talk about their special, struggling, and different teachers. I have found in teaching my special learners, that I need special grace. Some days I struggle more than they do. Some days I am overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy for the task--to the point that my inadequacies seem even larger than theirs. I struggle with having to meet so many different needs and feel that maybe my needs and theirs are just not being met. I believe that someone else could certainly do a better job teaching these children. I think that perhaps I wasn't cut out for this special job after all.  


What helps me keep these discouraging thoughts at bay and answer these questions is to ask a few more. Is my God good? If so, is everything He's placed in my life good or for my good? Does He love me? Is everything He has given me out of His love for me? Has God shown me mercy and grace? Does He give me enough mercy and grace to overflow and share with others? All a resounding yes and Amen!


So, what is keeping back His goodness, love, and grace from flowing through me? When my focus is on my own resources, I find that I have nothing to offer and I become discouraged. When I shift my focus and see the abundance of God's provision, I find rest.  


As I humble myself and realize my needs are fulfilled in Christ alone, I am able to rise and serve those He's placed in my life--with His resources, not mine. I just need to stay low and let His grace flow. The answer is abiding in Him. I have no goodness, no love, and no grace to offer anyone. But as I stay in the flow of God's grace and mercy, He bears fruit in me, even enough to share with all those around me.  


His grace; His free and unmerited favor is what He pours out on this struggling, special, and different teacher. It's the treasure we have to offer our struggling learners as we keep them Home Where They Belong.


"In the house of the righteous there is much treasure." Proverbs 15:6





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The Familyman 

About the time you're reading this, we're tooling down the highway to begin our 2013 Big Loop speaking tour. First stop, Greenville, Tennessee (near Knoxville). Then we make our way past Atlanta, the southernmost tip of Alabama, and then we spend a chunk of time down in the promised land (Florida). If you're in the area make sure you stop by. I'm just guessing you need some encouragement . . . especially if you teach a special learner.


I know there is a ton of pressure on you, both externally and internally. The lies swirl around your head almost daily, but take courage, you're not alone and you're doing just fine. In fact, listen to this mom who wrote me after I spoke to their homeschool group, "Todd, I've heard many positive comments about that evening. One mom said, "He was so encouraging! He talked about all those things you are afraid to say out loud in case you are the only one that feels that way. I walked away thinking that I'm doing an okay job {homeschooling} after all!" 


Truth is, she is normal and doing a good job after all . . . and so are you.


Be real,



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Raising Real Men    
Living with a learning disability involves more than difficulty with schoolwork. Many social situations assume reading and writing skills that may still be a goal for our struggling learner. Homeschooling our children with learning disabilities allows us to save them from some of the teasing and mockery that's common elsewhere, and for that we're grateful. We still need to be prepared to help them when they step outside the comfort zone of our homes.

Think through social situations. What's required by the class, co-op, event, or activity you'd like your child to do? Will there be reading aloud? Writing? What about at check in--how will they sign up? Things that are no big deal for most kids can be huge roadblocks for struggling learners, even when they are perfectly able to participate in the class.


Get their siblings on board. Our son said his heart sank every time he saw a stack of name tags, "It's like making a billboard saying, 'I'm dyslexic' and sticking it to my chest." It was a big relief when his brother started just casually writing both tags at once. An alert sibling can intervene in difficult areas for their special needs brother or sister and build a lifelong bond in the process.


Clue in the adults in charge. Something as simple and friendly as Vacation Bible School can produce tremendous stress when they might get called on to read aloud or to write something for other people to read. Just explaining things to the authorities can smooth the way for your child to enjoy the event without fear of embarrassment.


Ask for accommodations. Our son thought he'd never be able to win academic awards like his brothers, until we thought to ask if he could dictate his essays instead of write them by hand or type. The next year, he won first place among all secondary students in a statewide essay contest, of all things! Asking for accommodations isn't cheating; it's allowing your child to work at his full potential.


Use legal language when you ask for help. If you say, "My son has a learning disability and we'd like to request accommodations," often program organizers will be legally required to help you out under the Americans With Disabilities Act. In fact, most folks are delighted to do so! Our severely dyslexic and dysgraphic son is taking a class in essay writing and keeping an A average because he got the accommodations he needed to succeed.


Don't let a learning struggle stop you. Anxiety, both theirs and our own, can keep us from trying outside activities that our children are well able to do-- activities that may bless their lives. Speak up and get the help they need, and then encourage them to get out there and do it. It's so worth it!


Yours in the battle,

Hal & Melanie


Got a son who's nine to twelve years old? Wondering what's up with the emotional rollercoaster or why they are struggling in school all of a sudden? Get geared up to make the teens years great with our LIVE online series, Boot Camp 9-12! Next session starts October 22nd. Sign up now!


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A division of The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine Corner
Economics fistfights happen all around us; lately the fight over what elements create the best economy for a nation have stormed the news and filled our headlines. Mike Sims, the Assistant City Manager for the City of Terrell, Texas, brings both sides of the economic debate, without the politics, to his Economics class on Join him as he studies two of today's most prominent contemporary economists Paul Krugman and Tyler Cowen.  


Mike's class is just one of the challenging classes has for your high schoolers. Stop by and see all the courses we have to offer for high school, including Social Justice, Media Socialization, Trigonometry, Filmmaking, Mock Trial, and much more!


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Need help trying to figure out what approach you want to take on literature?
Spotlight on 5

Take a look at the October Spotlight on Five!



Do you ever wonder where  
God is when you face adversity?
TOS Article
in the latest issue of
The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.


Creation Revolution

"One of the most beautiful and amazing groups of birds are the hummingbirds.  Like many people, we put out hummingbird feeders in the summer and love to watch them hover in mid-air as they feed on the special sugar water in the feeders."

Contest Corner 

For the month of October, 2013   


The Verbal Math Lesson, Levels 1 and 2 


The Verbal Math Lesson is one of those books I wish I'd had earlier in the homeschooling process. As its name implies, it is a verbal program. Level One is addressed to ages 4-7, and Level Two is addressed to ages 7-8. In Level One the first lesson is titled "Working with Nothing" (the concept of zero). The last lesson (31 in all) is "Subtracting double-digit numbers ending in 0". The range between is implied and is pretty thorough. In Level Two, instruction begins with "Operations with numbers ending in 0" and wraps up with "Multiplication and division by 9." Level Two also does a good job of covering--in 29 lessons--the material between, including addition and subtraction of double-digit numbers. The website indicates that Level 1 can be used with elementary students and Level 2 with Middle School students. It seems that the material is therefore less targeted to grade-level or age than to skill sets.


The authors rightly state in their introduction, "Verbal math, also called mental math, is a practical and time-honored method of solving mathematical problems. Math done with worksheets often slows children down. Shortcuts and computational tricks learned by doing math mentally allow children to bypass much of the tediousness they experience with written math." (. . .)


(To read the rest of the review, click HERE.)


TO ENTER: Email Heather with your name, mailing address, and phone number for contact purposes, with the subject line, "Verbal Math" for a chance to win* the book for your homeschool!


In this week's issue:

Writing Tales

Landmark College

Fitness 4 Homeschool

Take a look at what's new for Fall 2013 at



A Protocol for Speech Delay 

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