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  Christian Home School Program Blogs

Space Information for Homeschoolers

Mimi Rothschild
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 09:54

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Do you ever wonder what it would be like to travel in space? I sure do. Let’s take today to learn a bit more about space and discovery.

Elementary Homeschooling Students
: The best place on the web for kids interested in space, rockets, astronauts and the solar system.

Middle School Homeschooling Students
Virtual Astronaut
: Interactive instructional materials for middle school students that integrates leading-edge technology with recent findings in physical sciences, space sciences, space medicine, biomedical research and living in space.

High School Homeschooling Students
Imagine the Universe
: Web site all about space designed for kids aged 14 and up. Come learn about the coolest thing around: the Universe!

“God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.” -Genesis 1:15-17 NIV

In Him,
The Jubilee Academy

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Using the Internet and Social Networking Sites in Home School

Mimi Rothschild
Monday, 6 April 2009 09:44

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-by Mimi Rothschild

You have to have had your head in the sand for the past several years not to have heard of the ever-growing world of social networking websites such as Myspace, gloryLane, and Facebook. But what are these sites, really? And is there a way that you can use them and the internet in general to enhance your home school environment? Although it is a personal decision, as long as you’re careful the general answer would be yes.

First of all, the most important thing to remember about the internet is that it can be a dangerous, unsavory place, particularly for children. Should you decide to embark on the journey of incorporating today’s technology into your home school curriculum, be sure that you are diligent in monitoring the safety of your students.

That being said, what types of things can you do to bring the world wide web into your classroom?

Social networking sites, such as Facebook or the Christian Networking site gloryLane, are ways in which friends can keep in touch with one another, via cyberspace, and are growing in popularity daily. Many of these sites contain groups and causes you can join, ways to share links with your friends and family, and even games you can play. The games can even be interactive and somewhat educational, such as word games and IQ challenges, which will at least get your child thinking. If properly monitored, these sites can be an excellent way to foster socialization, particularly for the only child in a home school home. But be cautioned, just as there are positive aspects to some of these sites, there are, of course, also dangers. If you allow your child to create an account, be sure that the privacy levels are properly in place, and keep close tabs on what your child is doing when visiting their account.

Chat rooms and forums are another way to communicate with others online. There are countless sites that offer the ability to set up a free account and become a member of their communities, some general, others much more specific to a certain hobby or subject. In fact, there are even several out there dedicated to the world of home schooling. These types of sites can be beneficial to your child by encouraging them to develop and share thoughtful opinions with others and participate in worthwhile discussions. However, just as with the social networking sites, you must do your due diligence in properly monitoring any forum or chat activity that your child is participating in.

Blogs are an excellent way to help your child develop a love for writing. There are multiple websites that offer free blogs to anyone who wants to start one. Allowing your child to establish their own blog will help them to become independent, flex their creativity muscles, and share their thoughts and ideas with anyone who is interested in reading it. And the possible subjects or themes of blogs are endless. Is your child especially interested in ballet? Maybe a particular sport piques your son’s interest. Whatever they are passionate about would make great material for their own blog. What better way to encourage your student to write than to allow them to publish their work online, for the world to see?

As always, you must be cautiously optimistic about today’s changing and developing technological resources, and safety is always the key. Remind your child regularly that it is never ok to share personal information, such as address or phone numbers, with anyone they are speaking to online. If you are careful and diligent about it, the internet can be an excellent tool to add a new dimension to your home school classroom.

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

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Handel’s Messiah: a Christmas Study

Thursday, 18 December 2008 14:40

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-by Mimi Rothschild

Almost all of us could sing (or at least holler) a line or two from the “Hallelujah Chorus.” It’s the one that goes, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” But not all of us know the whole story of this wonderful piece of music.

At this time of year, you can probably find a live performance of Handel’s Messiah in your neighborhood, or on TV. It’s about two and a half hours long, which is a good length for older students, but may be too long for younger children. For the littlest ones, you might prefer to listen to a recording of just a few parts of the whole work.

Georg Frideric Handel wrote his Messiah in just twenty-four days after reading the verses it’s based on: it remains one of the great examples of God’s inspiration in art. The words come primarily from the book of Isaiah. The music was written in 1742. The first performance took place in Dublin in April of that year, and parts of the oratorio are still performed at Easter. Nowadays, though, Messiah is mostly sung at Christmas.

Even if you plan to go to hear a live performance, it is still good to listen and study some of the pieces ahead of time.

“For Unto Us a Child is Born”

For unto us a Child is born. Unto us a Son is given,
And the government shall be upon His shoulder.
And His name shall be called “Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.”

This section is great for listening practice. There are very few words, but they are repeated in complicated overlapping patterns by all the different singers at different times. Have students take a pencil and paper and check off when they hear particular phrases. For example, you might ask the kids to make a check on the paper each time they hear the word “for” – it stands out well. Older students can listen very closely and say whether they heard male or female (or high or low) voices each time.

In the next section, listen for “shoulder” in the same way. This intensive listening feels like a game, but it helps children develop their attention spans and the habit of close listening.

All the voices then sing “And His name shall be called…” together. Discuss with your students why this might be so important that Handel wanted everyone to sing it strongly together. Read this passage in Isaiah 9:6 together and discuss what it means to say that “the government shall be upon His shoulder.” Remind the children that you have lots of names for them (pet names and nicknames) because they’re so important to you, and in the same way, we have lots of names for Jesus. The Old Testament book of Isaiah uses many of these beautiful names.

“And the Glory”

And the glory, the glory of the Lord shall be revealed,
And all flesh shall see it together.
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken it.

This song, with words from Isaiah 40:5, is a joyful celebration of the arrival of the Christ Child, and a wonderful verse to learn during Advent when we wait to repeat that celebration ourselves.

Reinforce listening practice by listening for the loud and soft parts of this section of Messiah. This is an important first step in music education, and a useful thing for kids to know in their daily lives, too. Have the children lift their hands way up on the loud parts and push them down for the soft parts. For the dramatic silence near the end, hands should be on the table or the floor.

Older students can listen for specific instruments in the orchestra as they play. Have them list the instruments they hear.


For the Lord God omnipotent reigneth
The kingdom of the world is become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ
And he shall reign forever and ever
King of Kings and Lord of Lords!

This section is as close as Messiah gets to having a part you can sing along with, so go ahead and sing along. Then look at some of the difficult words: “hallelujah,” “omnipotent,” “reigneth,” and “reign.” Have your students write the message out in their own words.

If you attend a live performance of Messiah, you may encounter two interesting customs that go along with the “Hallelujah Chorus.” First, people often stand up to listen to it. The story goes that King George was so excited the first time he heard it performed that he spontaneously stood up. Since no one was allowed to sit down while the king was standing, the whole theater full of people stood, too, and now it’s the custom to do so.

The other interesting custom associated with this song is that of allowing the people in the audience to come up and join in with the final chorus. Sometimes you can even buy a copy of the music in the theater so you can sing along.

Whether you enjoy the Messiah in a concert hall, on a CD, or on YouTube, your children will benefit from sharing in this important piece of our cultural and religious heritage.

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

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Christmas Around the World Lessons

Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 10 December 2008 11:12

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-by Mimi Rothschild

As Christmas approaches, our homes can get busy and our kids can get restless. Instead of giving lessons short shrift, take this opportunity to review what you’ve learned so far this school year, using a Christmas Around the World theme.

Before you begin, find a world map: a wall map, an online map to print out, or a map made by your students can all be great choices. Whenever you work on a new country, have your children find that nation on the map, and mark it with a map pin or sticker. This will give you a good geography review as you go along.

Start in Mexico, where Las Posadas is an important part of the Christmas celebration. This is a sort of parade, in which people reenact the journey of Mary and Joseph, knocking on the door to ask for a place to stay and being told there is only space in the stable. The reenacters are then invited in, and a party is held. Make a piñata for your party from papier mache formed over a blown-up balloon, serve hot chocolate, and sing Christmas carols. This is a great way to have an easy party with fellow homeschool families. During the preparations, use math skills to plan and carry out the refreshments and decorations, review the story of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, and practice Spanish if you’ve been studying it.

Christmas in England has influenced our American celebration of Christmas enormously. Christmas trees became popular in the United States after Queen Victoria’s German husband introduced the custom to England. Many of our special foods, Christmas hymns, and the custom of Christmas cards also came to us from England. But one of the best ways to incorporate an English Christmas into our lessons is to read or listen to A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens. Whether your children are ready to read the book aloud to the family, or more of an age to watch The Muppets Christmas Carol on TV, they can enjoy this story. If you’re reading it, keep a list of new vocabulary words you meet in the book, and have the kids look them up in the dictionary.

Next stop on the Christmas Around the World journey: Finland. Practice writing friendly letters by writing letters to Santa Claus at Santa, c/o Arctic Circle, 96930 Rovaniemi, Finland. (If Santa Claus is not part of your holiday tradition, let your students help with Christmas cards, or write to grandparents about what they’re learning.) In Finland, an important Christmas custom is a thorough cleaning of the house. When your students need a break from concentrating on writing, get some good exercise with vigorous housecleaning and return to your studies with renewed energy. Another Finnish custom is to feed the birds the first thing on Christmas morning, before the people in the house eat or any presents are opened, Use this custom to talk about putting others first, as Jesus told us to do, and to review any studies you’ve done about birds.

Onward to France, where Christmas is observed with santons, figures of people from the community who are grouped around the crèche, which is the manger scene of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Review your lessons on community helpers or careers, and make santons from clay or paper to add to your manger scene. France is also the home of the Buche de Noel, a famous Christmas cake made in the shape of a log. Frost a jelly roll to look like a log, review your lessons on plants or trees, and talk with your children about how the plants we associate with Christmas show a picture of Jesus. Those green plants remind us of the way Jesus triumphed over death by His resurrection, and of our own rebirth in Him. This, you can explain, is why we bring trees into our homes at Christmas: to remind ourselves and others of our eternal life through our savior Jesus.

In Ghana, on the west coast of Africa, children walk through the streets in the evening singing carols and calling, “Christ is near! Christ is near!” They dress in splendid costumes and sometimes even dance to the music of brass bands. Christmas in Ghana is a combination of church celebrations and visiting friends and relatives in nearby towns. Homes are decorated with bright paper ornaments. In Ghana, few families have the kind of material abundance that we are used to. Presents, for families that can afford them, are usually shoes or school books. Take this opportunity to talk with your children about the differences in material wealth from one country to another, and to remember that Jesus tells us to help and pray for those who have less than we do. This is also a time to remember that Christmas is not about presents and fancy decorations, even though we enjoy those things, but about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ.

An Australian Christmas is a summer holiday. Families go camping and have barbecues on the beach. Review the seasons and how the rotation of the earth causes them while you learn about Australian Christmas customs. Other appropriate science topics would be the kinds of animals God has placed in different habitats, and the differences between marsupial and placental mammals. A beautiful custom in Australia is the candlelight carol service. People in cities come out into the center of town with candles to sing Christmas carols together. In Australia, where a relatively high proportion of people live alone, loneliness is as much as problem at Christmas as poverty. Pray with your children about someone you know who might be lonely this Christmas.

With these ideas, you can work on science, math, reading, writing, and social studies, even as you enjoy the preparations for this wonderful holiday.

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Homeschoolers and Socialization

Mimi Rothschild
Tuesday, 25 November 2008 10:15


-by Mimi Rothschild

One of the concerns homeschoolers hear from other people, often including our extended family members and well-meaning friends from church, is that our children won’t have the opportunities for socialization that kids receive in public schools. This is a sincere concern, and giving it a serious answer can not only reassure our friends and family, but also help to correct misunderstandings about homeschooling.

First, where does this idea come from? Year-round public schooling in America became widespread and powerful in the 1920s, following the passage of compulsory schooling laws in the early years of the 20th century. Before that time, many children still learned at home, or in short spells of schooling with itinerant teachers. Others traveled to private seminaries and preparatory schools. The idea that all children would and should attend public schools came up for two main reasons.

First, the flood of immigrants at the beginning of the 20th century caused people to worry that the UnitedStates would lose its shared language and culture. If immigrant children continued to learn at home, they would speak only the languages of their parents, and not learn English. Second, the rise of factories gave Americans the feeling that an assembly line and the one-size-fits all approach was the most modern and efficient way to do everything, including educating children.

Public schools are still a good way for newly arrived immigrants to learn the language and culture of their new homeland. We’ve learned, on the other hand, that an assembly line approach isn’t necessarily the best way to teach children.

In either case, the idea that our children need schools for socialization is a hangover from those days, a time of different ideas and circumstances from our own. Supposing that your children come from a home where English is spoken. What kind of socialization will they get in a public school?

First, they’ll spend most of their time with others their own age. A homeschool student has the opportunity to watch and learn from adults and older siblings, to help and care for younger children, and to see how people of all ages interact in a natural way. In public schools, children may be almost completely segregated by age.

Second, they’ll spend most of their time in a strongly hierarchical setting. In a school, students in upper grades may feel that they have higher status and more importance than younger ones, and they may show that feeling in their behavior toward the little ones. Teachers may struggle to stay in control of their classes, shouting or threatening to keep the upper hand. Teachers are ruled by the principal, and the principal may bow to the school board. Students are often conscious of this pecking order. At home, the loving family strives to follow the model Christ gave the church. We may not always succeed, but we have a stronger starting point.

Third, they’ll be in a secular, worldly environment. The Apostle Paul gave a wonderful example of how to get along with different kinds of people. God wants us to be able to do that. God’s word doesn’t teach us that it’s essential for us to make sure that our children dress like the current pop stars, memorize the story line from the most popular TV show, or yearn for the latest materialistic fads. Yet this is often the center of social life at school.

Homeschool social groups, Sunday School, art classes, music lessons, and community sports teams all give opportunities for kids to interact with other kids and become comfortable in groups. A few hours a week, along with free play time with siblings and neighbors, is enough of that kind of socialization for our children. Otherwise, learning the excellent lessons the Bible has for us about how to behave toward other people is the best possible socialization.

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

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We need to be encouragers, always.

Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 19 November 2008 09:56

1 Comment

-by Mimi Rothschild

Both as parents and as teachers, we are charged with encouraging and uplifting our children. Children are like sponges; they soak up whatever their environment is filled with. This is the very reason many of us chose to homeschool in the first place, so that our children won’t be surrounded by things that are not desirable. But we cannot forget that in place of those negative things we work so diligently to remove from our children’s lives, we must provide love, knowledge, joy and encouragement. Children are, after all, a gift from God and we should treat them as such.

Proverbs 22:6 reminds us to “Train up a child in the way he should go, and even when he is old he will not depart from it.” It is crucial that our children be taught the word of God and His teachings. And we can certainly do this in our daily curriculum, as well as with family Bible study and devotionals. But we mustn’t forget that a big part of teaching includes continual encouragement for our children.

Do we as Christians not seek encouragement from God? Isn’t it an amazing feeling to know that God loves us so much, and that He will never forget or forsake us? According to Hebrews 6:10: “For God is not so unjust as to forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have ministered to the saints and continue to minister to them.” If God, our Heavenly Father, provides us with the endless inspiration of His word, then how much more should we, as parents, be an inspiration for our own children?

Have you ever enthusiastically told a child what a great job they did, or how proud you are of them? If you have, then you’ve seen the way their face lights up, how their eyes shine, how their chest puffs and they beam with pride. Do you realize that nobody on this earth will have as big an impact on your child’s life as you? Children thrive on encouragement. And they should be getting plenty of it from you. Plant good seeds as they grow and they will reap the fruits of your labor as they continue through life.

This applies not only in day to day life, but also in homeschooling. When your child successfully completes an assignment, learns a new math rule, or spells a difficult word correctly, how do you react? Do you say “ok” and move on to the next lesson or step? Next time, take a few minutes to remind your students how smart they are, and what a wonderful effort they are making in their work (assuming they are).

Of course, you have to strike a balance so you don’t make your children over-confident. But by providing consistent, well deserved encouragement to them, you will raise intelligent, confident, productive and faithful adults.

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of 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.

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

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The Math We Use Every Day

Mimi Rothschild
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 16:12

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-by Mimi Rothschild

Some of our students love math. Numbers are their friends, and they get excited about things like the Pythagorean theorem. Some of our students balk at studying math, and tell us they’re going to use calculators anyway, so they don’t need to know all that stuff and can they please do their art lessons instead?

Both groups of students can benefit by getting down to earth and hooking their math lessons up to the real world.

Include your children in these daily math experiences, and you may see your reluctant mathematicians blossom into enthusiasm, while your math whizzes get new appreciation for the practical value of their beloved subject.

• We use algebra for planning. When you pull some cash out of your pocket for that drive-through meal between soccer and play practice, you have to use the amount of money you have, the cost of each burger or taco, and the number of people in the car to calculate how many you should order. When you agreed to this child’s soccer team and that child’s drama troupe in the first place, you had to figure out whether it would be possible to get everyone to the right place at the right time. Use manipulatives or equations to work out these problems, and help your kids get in the habit of doing these kinds of calculations.

• We use percentages and estimation for shopping. In order to stay in our budgets at the grocery store or mall, we have to keep track of what we put in the basket, and then most of us must mentally add on a certain percentage for sales tax. Let your kids take over this task on all your shopping trips, and you’ll be amazed how skilled they’ll get.

• We use basic operations for budgeting time and money. Working out a household budget, the budget for a vacation or holiday, or the schedule for a busy day can use all the basic operations. Let kids get in on the calculations for the family, or for their own budgets and work schedules. Even very young children can join in on this when they figure up what time the family can play a board game together, considering the time dinner is served and how long it takes to clean the kitchen.

• We use fractions and measurement for household tasks. We measure cups and spoons and fractions of cups and spoons when we bake cookies. We measure inches and yards and fractions of both when we cut the fabric for a quilt or the lumber for a woodworking project. We even have to add and multiply and subtract and divide measurements and fractions when we double a recipe or calculate yardage. Getting to eat the cookies or join in the crafty fun is motivation for the kids to help with the calculations, too.

Why not keep a list of all the math skills your family uses in real life? Post the list on the family bulletin board and add to it all year, or check things off in the index in your math book. Your student will be amazed at how useful math really is!

Mimi Rothschild is the Founder of Learning By Grace, Inc. 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


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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