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  Christian Home School Program Blogs

The Shy Child


Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 18 February 2009 10:00

4 Comments

-by Mimi Rothschild

Are you homeschooling a shy child? Homeschooling can allow a shy child to learn more, since the presence of boisterous, outgoing kids can make the school setting uncomfortable. A shy child in a classroom full of bold children may not speak up when she misunderstands or give an answer when a question is asked. She may be overlooked by teachers or feel isolated from fellow students. In a homeschool setting, a quiet child’s abilities may shine better than in a school setting.

At the same time, it’s natural for parents to feel concerned. Are we limiting our child’s social development by keeping him from being forced to overcome his shyness? Should we cater to that shyness, or do we need to make extra efforts to make our child come out of her shell?

First, we should recognize that shyness is an aspect of a person’s temperament. We may think of a shy child as timid or frightened, as poorly socialized, or lacking in the ability to get along with others. In fact, the child we call shy may merely be an introvert. Some psychologists describe introverted people as those who gain energy from being alone, which is completely different from being timid or afraid of other children.

Separating timidity from introversion can help us to help our children outgrow timidity without failing to appreciate their natural temperament.

2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.” A feeling of love toward others, an awareness of God’s power supporting us, and self-discipline to be brave in new situations can help a timid child.

1 Thessalonians tells us, “And we urge you… encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone.” We can encourage our shy children when they’re timid, and give them time alone when they need to recharge their emotional batteries.

One surprising help for shy kids is a study of manners. Knowing for certain that we are doing exactly the right thing in a social setting allows us to feel more confident and less self-conscious. We can have that spirit of power, and think about others with love, instead of worrying that we might be using the wrong fork or speaking out of turn.

Enjoy learning about manners in different countries or customs of different times, and practice good manners at the family dinner table. The social graces give confidence, and make your children welcome in all situations.

For some shy children, having more information about a situation ahead of time makes it more comfortable. Saying, “We’re going to go to the library for story time and we’re going to meet Gabriel and his mom there, and then we’ll go to the park to play for a while before we come home” lets your child feel prepared for the interaction, Allowing her to play on the edge of a group of children, to stay with you for a while before joining in a game, or to leave the game when she needs some down time are other ways to help her enjoy play dates.

With understanding, preparation, and encouragement, we can provide a rewarding environment for our shy children.

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Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of LearningByGrace.org the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.



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Understanding Reading Levels


Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 13 November 2008 15:52

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-by Mimi Rothschild

You’re at the library, and your darling child runs to you with a wonderful book she just found. She loves the picture on the cover, and she’s excited about reading it, but how can you be sure it’s at the right reading level for her?

It’s great when there’s a reading level number on the book. You can sometimes find these codes on the back cover at the bottom, or on the front, in a top corner. Unfortunately, these numbers aren’t uniform. One series of books will call their books levels 1, 2, and 3 while another calls the same levels “beginning,” “step one,” and “step two.” It can be useful to work through a series, since the books will consistently get more difficult as they move through the levels. When you’re mixing series, don’t rely on the numbers, because there’s no reason to expect them to match.

Books with numbers like “4.3” are more consistent. This generally means the third month of fourth grade. But there really isn’t a consistent definition of what a fourth grader reads. Your students may read more easily or less easily than the hypothetical kids those numbers are designed for. The good thing about this system is that if your child reads one book marked 2.6 comfortably, then he can probably read another one with the same ranking just as easily, even if it’s not in the same series or from the same publisher. Then you can move up to the next number, and the next, with confidence.

A great rule of thumb when there are no reading levels on the book is the Four Word Rule. Have your child read one page aloud. If she stumbles on or doesn’t recognize four or more words, then that book is too hard. Have her choose another one, and remember the more difficult one for the future.

If your child’s heart is set on reading a book that seems too hard or too easy, consider trying it anyway. When it comes to books that are too easy, consider that you probably don’t relax with Fyodor Dostoevsky every evening. Sometimes we don’t need a challenge. Reading for pleasure is an important part of adult life, and kids should develop that habit early.

The book that’s too hard? Let your child work diligently on a few pages, and then read some of the wonderful and challenging book aloud for him to enjoy. Later, let him read some more on his own. Learning to read is hard work, but the rewards are worth it. Shared reading can help kids get that lesson.

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Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of LearningByGrace.org the nation’s leading provider of online PreK-12 online Christian educational programs for homeschoolers.



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Sensory Modalities- Multisensory Learning


Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 20 October 2008 13:04

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One of the great things about homeschooling is that we can teach each of our children in the very best way for that particular child. One of the learning differences that matters most is the child’s preferred sensory modality.

That’s a long phrase that means that some children learn better through seeing (visual learners), some through hearing (auditory learners), and some through touching (kinesthetic learners). God has given us our senses, and we all use them in the ways that are best for our uniquely created selves.

How Can I Tell My Child’s Preferred Sensory Modality?

When you get out a map, your visual learners might look closely and study it. Your auditory learners might look at it briefly and then look back at you, listening for an explanation, or start reading the names of the countries out loud. Your kinesthetic learners might touch the map, tracing out a route with their fingers.

Some people are more balanced than others, and might seem to use information from different sensory channels equally. Usually, even more balanced learners show their preferred modality when they’re feeling a little stressed.

Your auditory learner might talk to herself when she is working hard on a math test. Your kinesthetic learner might count on his fingers or doodle numbers in the margins. Your visual learner might write in the margins, too, but he’ll be doing it so he can look at the figures to see whether they look right.

Fortunately, all children learn best when they use all their senses, so you don’t have to be sure about their
preferred modalities. Just include a range of different activities in your lessons. It is so easy for us to think of activities that fit our own preferred modality! Sometimes we need to be reminded of the best activities for the other learning modalities.

Activities for Visual Learners
• Looking at charts and diagrams.
• Color-coding information
• Using graphic organizers to show information
• Practicing with flashcards and worksheets
• Using videos

Activities for Auditory Learners
• Listening to lectures
• Discussing information and ideas
• Reading aloud
• Using learning songs and chants
• Reciting information and doing oral practice

Activities for Kinesthetic Learners
• Using manipulatives
• Doing hands-on practice
• Creating models
• Playing games with information
• Using role play and drama

A perfect lesson would include activities for all the senses. We know that practicing new learning in different ways helps children learn better than practicing for the same amount of time using the same approach. Research also shows that multisensory lessons are learned more easily and remembered longer.

Combine different activities to get the most out of each of them and the best for each learner. Learning videos let visual learners watch and auditory learners listen. Let kinesthetic learners follow along with drawings or manipulatives, or try out what they see on their own. Have kinesthetic learners make graphic organizers with their visual learner siblings, and the auditory learners will join in discussing how to sort the information in the organizers. You can even include cooking, gardening, and nature study to bring in the senses of smell and taste. As far as we know, children don’t use these senses as their preferred learning modality, but we have all seen how cooking a dish from a country being studied can bring that lesson to life.

Soon multisensory lessons will be second nature!



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Frequently Asked Questions on ADD/ADHD


Mimi Rothschild
Thursday, 1 November 2007 08:58

2 Comments

By Mimi Rothschild

Below is another great article I found about ADD/ADHD.  If your not familiar with ADD/ADHD then please read these frequently asked questions so you can easily identify if your homeschooling child has it or so you can better meet your student’s learning needs.  If you are a homeschooling parent of a child with ADD/ADHD I’d love to hear about your experience.


Please provide an overview of attention deficit disorders.Attention deficit disorder is a syndrome characterized by serious and persistent difficulties in the following three specific areas:

  • 1. Attention span.

  • 2. Impulse control.

  • 3. Hyperactivity (sometimes).

ADD is a chronic disorder that can begin in infancy and extend through adulthood, having negative effects on a child’s life at home, school, and within the community. It is conservatively estimated that 3 to 5% of our school-age population is affected by ADD. Even though the exact cause of ADD remains unknown, research shows that ADD is a neurologically-based medical problem. There is no one “test” for determining if a person has this disorder. An accurate diagnosis requires an assessment conducted by a well-trained professional – usually a developmental pediatrician, child psychologist, child psychiatrist, or pediatric neurologist. (From ERIC EC Digest E569, Teaching Children with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorders).

What information is available on legal issues and attention deficit disorder?

Most students with ADD are served in the general education classroom. Some students may receive services under the rules and regulations of either Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The IDEA defines as eligible only students who have certain specified types of disabilities and who, because of one of those conditions, need special education and specially designed instruction. Section 504 protects all qualified students with disabilities, defined as those having any physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities including learning. Section 504 covers all students who meet this definition, even if they do not need to be in a special education program. It is important for classroom teachers and other professionals who work with these students to understand the classroom modifications and accommodations that can assist these students. (From Section 504 and the ADA Promoting Student Access: A Resource Guide for Educators. Council for Exceptional Children, Reston, VA).

What can you tell me about the use of Ritalin and other medications in the treatment of ADD? What are some alternatives to medication?

No cure or “quick fix” exists to treat AD/HD. The symptoms, however, can be managed through a combination of efforts. management approaches need to be designed to assist the child behaviorally, educationally, psychologically, and, in many instances, pharmacologically. Medication has proven effective for many children with AD/HD. Most experts agree, however, that medication should never be the only treatment used. Many parents and teachers have heard that mega-vitamins, chiropractic scalp massage, visual/ocular motor training, biofeedback, allergy treatments, and diets are useful treatments for AD/HD. However, these treatments are often experimental, and advocates and parents need to become informed consumers and exercise caution when considering such treatments. (From NICHCY’s briefing paper on ADD).

I think my child is gifted. My child’s teacher says he might have an attention deficit disorder. Is this possible? Where can I get information on children who are gifted and might have an attention deficit disorder?

During the past five years, an increasing number of gifted children have been identified or diagnosed as having attention deficit disorder, with or without hyperactivity. This dramatic increase is somewhat disturbing, and has been explained in many different ways including greater awareness on the part of educational professionals and improved diagnostic techniques. However, ADD in gifted students is difficult to assess because so many of the behavioral characteristics are similar to those associated with giftedness or creativity. A child who is gifted may have ADD. Without a thorough professional evaluation, including a physical examination by a physician, it is hard to tell.



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