Sunday, November 18, 2007
As usual, I knew that the tires were getting worn, and that I needed to replace them, but life always seemed to be too busy and other things got in the way. And I forgot. And I procrastinated.
And I paid the price.
Luckily no one was hurt, and it just pushed our time-table back a few hours. God is good, and we are thankful to Him for keeping us safe.
Melinda was able to attend many workshops and gained a lot of new and useful information. We exhibited some of our products, met many new friends, and got reacquainted with many old friends. Overall it was a good time. Beckie was the only child with us, and she had an upset stomach part of the time, but she was a trooper and a good sport.
On Saturday night, we took a "Monuments by Moonlight" tour and saw many of the memorials in our Nation's capital. It was about a four hour tour, but I think you could spend several times that long and still not see everything.
But we are still very glad to be home. Exhausted and ready for some rest.
All children forget things they’ve heard now and then, but for some children forgetfulness happens frequently and is problematic. Parents of the chronically forgetful are faced with the difficult task of trying to determine if their child is genuinely not retaining information or is being willfully non-compliant.
One way to determine if memory issues are causing difficulties is to check in with the child is to see if she can repeat back what you just told her to do. A child who only remembers one out of three directions will not be able to comply with completing all three. Sometimes a child with working memory difficulties can repeat back what they’ve heard immediately, but the information is not retained long enough for them to act on it before it is forgotten. When memory issues are causing difficulties, there are a number of strategies to improve retention and compensate for weaknesses.
One way to help those who have trouble remembering things is to develop routines that can become habits. For example, if you want your child to do the same three things every morning, have him perform the activities in the same order and in the same location each day. Once there has been enough repetition to form a habit, the child no longer has to work to remember the three morning chores.
Some children remember sequences and lists better when using music as an auditory prompt and reminder. Try making up songs that incorporate the task you want your child to complete. Generate your own song or use a familiar tune and change the words to fit the activity.
Songs allow for repetition, which helps with memory and can aid your child in sticking with an activity for an adequate amount of time. For instance, you could sing a song about washing hands to help your child remember all the steps involved and to keep them washing long enough to get clean. They can learn a tooth brushing song and sing it in their minds to keep them brushing and remembering to brush the top and bottom teeth on both sides.
Another strategy to facilitate memory is to use visual cues in addition to the auditory directions given to a child. For young children or those with language delays, use gestures along with your verbal directions. If you need to remind your child to put his coat in the closet, point to the coat and then to the closet as you tell him to pick up the coat and hang it where it belongs.
When a child has difficulty remembering routine daily activities try using pictures, charts, and lists that can serve as constant visual reminders. This will relieve some of the burden on auditory or working memory alone. Post the charts or checklists where the child can see them at the time and place they are needed to complete the tasks. This will also help the child to be consistently reminded through visual cues without the parent needing to frequently prompt and repeat what needs to be done.
For activities that are not part of a routine, the child needs to develop strategies using internal cues to help retain the information long enough to complete tasks. For some children, repeating the directions to themselves over and over until the job is done may be effective. For example, the child who is likely to forget what he was sent upstairs to retrieve might prompt himself by repeating, “Go to the bedroom. Bring back the history book.”
My own children benefited greatly by applying the “make a movie” technique. Before I’d give them a direction, I’d instruct them to “make a movie in your mind” about what I was telling them to do. Then I would tell them step-by-step what I wanted them to do. I’d ask them to picture themselves completing the task and encouraged them to imagine themselves following the directions to completion.
The more color, detail, and even humor that was included in their movies, the easier it was for them to remember what they needed to accomplish. I’d tell them to push the “play” button and then send them off to do the errand with a reminder that if they forgot what they needed to do they could replay the movie in their minds and see if that helped them remember.
Memory challenges can be frustrating for parents and children alike. By incorporating strategies into daily activities, children can begin to develop skills and learn to compensate for their memory difficulties. It’s never too early or too late to work on improving memory.
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Monday, August 20, 2007
Wednesday, August 08, 2007
Monday, July 23, 2007
Friday, July 20, 2007
I am usually glad to see him try to reason things out on his own, but once when I wanted him to follow a direction literally he went in another direction. I had found a recipe for making omelets in a zip-loc bag. It was recommended for families because each member could put the ingredients they preferred into a zip-loc bag and then boil the bags until the omelet was cooked. Then each person could have an omelet exactly as he or she liked it, and it could slide from the bag onto a plate for serving. This sounded like a good idea to me, so I decided to try it out. I mixed up an omelet, put it in a zip-loc bag, and put on a large pot of water to boil. A few minutes later as I worked in another room, I called to Josh in the kitchen to see if the water was boiling. He said it was, so I asked him, "Would you please put the zip-loc bag into the water for me?" His reply was the usual, "Sure!" About five minutes later, I went to check on my omelet, and to my dismay I saw that the bag had leaked and there were rivulets of egg and other ingredients floating around like some sort of disgusting soup. Then I realized that the bag was not leaking...there was no bag! Josh had opened it up and dumped everything in the water. He remembered me saying to put the bag in the water, but that didn't make sense to him and I had never asked him to boil anything in a bag before. So, he reasoned that I must really mean to empty the bag's contents into the pot. For future reference, I encouraged him to ask for clarification if I was giving him a direction that didn't make sense to him.
More recently, I handed Josh a jar of salsa, a bowl for the salsa, a bag of chips, and a bowl for the chips. I asked him to put the salsa in its bowl and put the bag of chips into the other bowl. He said the usual, "Sure" and proceeded to put the salsa into the bowl. I continued on with other things and Josh finished what he was doing and wandered off to play on the computer. I had to laugh when I saw a full, unopened bag of tortilla chips inside a large bowl. I showed it to Josh and asked if that was really his idea of putting the chips in the bowl. He grinned sheepishly and said he just "spaced out" on that one. I am choosing to believe that's the truth.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Last weekend was the first that we had spent at home for six weeks. Beginning in late April, all through May and the first weekend of June we were exhibiting at homeschool conventions.
We traveled to Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Jersey. I estimate that we drove around 5,000 miles. We met lots of great people for the first time, and saw some old friends. I wish we had many, many more hours to speak with you folks. It is quite a rush to teach, learn, encourage and generally share life with people who are going through the same struggles and challenges. It is draining, but well worth it. I hope we helped many of you.
In talking with hundreds of people who are grappling with special needs challenges, there is one thing that I find most common. Everyone at some point (and often it is after a six hour session trying to teach a 30 minute math lesson) asks themselves "Am I really up to this? Wouldn't Josh be better off in public school where they are trained to handle this?" The answer is always: Yes, you are up to it and no, he wouldn't be better off. Even if you are not officially homeschooling, the fact of the matter is that you will still be homeschooling. Let me explain.
The public schools are by definition and necessity designed to serve the masses. Their weakest point is when they have to specialize or accomodate for people who learn differently or have learning disabilities. If you child falls into this catagory, he/she will get the standard issue education- whether or not it is a good fit for their needs. If they are to succeed, you as the parent will have to complete their schooling at home. Thus you will still be homeschooling.
Strengths of homeschooling are: teacher-to-student ratio (tough to beat 1-to-1),
self-paced & independent study,
wide choice of methods & curriculum,
better, personalized learning environment.
So be encouraged and be reassured.
It is frustrating.
It is exhausting.
It is also the very best thing you can do for your child.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Friday, March 02, 2007
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Also, if "SPEAKING" appears after the event Melinda will be presenting one or more of her workshops.
Indiana Association Home Educators (IAHE) - March 23-24, 2007 (Indianapolis, IN);
Indiana Homeschool Support (IHS) - March 31, 2007 (New Paris, IN);
Dayton Resource & Curriculum Fair (DRCF) - April 27, 2007 (Dayton, OH)- SPEAKING;
Information Network for Christian Homes (INCH) - May 4-5, 2007 (Lansing, MI);
Christian Homeschool Assoc. of PA (CHAP) - May 11-12, 2007 (Harrisburg, PA);
Fort Wayne Area Home Schools (FWAHS) - May 18-19, 2007 (Ft Wayne, IN);
Florida Parent-Educators Assoc. (FPEA) - May 24-26, 2007 (Orlando, FL);
Education Network of Christian Homeschoolers (ENOCH) - June 1-2, 2007 (Edison, NJ)- SPEAKING;
Christian Home Educators of Ohio (CHEO) - June 21-23, 2007 (Columbus, OH)- SPEAKING;
School Based Occupational Therapists & Physical Therapists - August, 2007;
Children and Adults with ADHD (CHADD) - November 1-10, 2007 (Crystal City, VA);
Sunday, February 11, 2007
I still think it's a good idea, and it should have worked. Should have. It wasn't long before the excuses starting coming in - no dry erase marker could be found, the written list had gone missing and no one remembered moving it or seeing it, or my least favorite "The room looked pretty good already." Just yesterday, I asked my son Josh to please clean the kitchen since he had been assigned that room for the week. He started the dishwasher, then informed me he had to leave for work. Before I could say anything, he pointed out "But at least the sink is empty." A glance revealed dirty dishes in both sides of the sink, although there were fewer than before he started. I pointed out that the sink was not in fact empty, but Josh just cheerfully replied that at least it looked better than it had. Somehow my AD/HD ones equate "starting the dishwasher" with "I cleaned the kitchen now" even if the sink, counters, and floor are filthy. In their minds, the kitchen is clean and they are happy with it.
Reminders to use the list loop us back to the previously listed excuses. It puzzles me that they seem to like it when things are clean and they can find what they need when they need it, but they won't put forth the effort to maintain it even when I finally manage to get things truly clean.