Ring Around the Phonics

Phonics and Reading Blog

Extended Families

broken families lost souls

Broken families have created an increase in crime (“Lost Souls”). The cause and solutions will likely surprise you as it did for me. This article is for all the parents who want to help their children avoid abusive relationships. It is also for parents who have been shunned by their adult children.

As a child, my father took us to visit family in the interior of Mexico far from the big cities.  The extended family (children, aunts, uncles, grandparents,   great grandparents) all lived together in a small community.  Each had their own home built in a circular pattern with an open center where the children safely played in the watchful care of the family.  Adding to the family safety, there was one way in, and one way out.

Most had dirt floors, but they were all very proud to show us one relative’s home in the circle had wooden floors. I was impressed by the fact that no one seemed envious or jealous of her prosperity. They seemed to feel that her accomplishment was their own, and did not feel she should redistribute her good fortune to the rest of the family.  My Mexican relatives were most gracious, and happy to see relatives from America.  They openly shared what they had with us, and the food was delicious.

Indigenous Tribe

I watched a documentary about a small indigenous tribe in the Amazon. The village worked together much like my family in Mexico.  When one member of the village made the meat kill for the tribe’s food, he was rewarded by having first choice of the meat.

Some of the men in the tribe were brought to America to witness how Americans lived. Some Americans hosted their brief stay in America bringing them into their own homes.  At first their American hosts thought the Amazonians would be impressed with American prosperity.  But to her surprise, the men were surprised to see all the homeless in the midst of all this prosperity. 

One of them was particularly drawn to a very old homeless man.  He spent the whole day with him to show him that he was a valuable human being deserving of love and attention.  When they returned to the home of their host that evening, they talked about the old man, “who had no one to love him”.  They said that would not happen in their village. The indigenous people told her they were going to pray for Americans.  They said, “Americans have lost their souls”.

I began to research this more.  There can be many reasons for the divisiveness in families.  Mental illness is no excuse, but it happens. Abuse can divide families.  Alcohol and drugs can cause one to lose their souls. But it was something else that began to surprise me as I did the research…It was totally unexpected. 

Mommy Blame/Broken Families

1.  ELEANOR BAILEY writes about a real life example:

The man who created the BBC, the first Director General, Lord Reith had the classic split personality of the over-achiever. At work he was a colossus – revered, respected and highly honoured. At home, to his family, he was a tyrannical bully.

A new biography by his now 74 year old daughter reveals that he had a string of blatant affairs, conducted openly and for which he never felt obliged to apologize, despite his public views on television’s absolute responsibility to uphold moral standards.

There was his emotional distance, his anger – he threw telephones across rooms and smashed crockery – his dismissal of family seaside holidays as “provincial and boring”.

There was the dog which he thrashed with his belt and the public humiliation of his ever-loyal wife.

He thought his children were put on this earth to improve his own image – he exerted such pressure on his daughter, Marista, to become a concert pianist that she was left incapable of playing except in an empty room.

Yet, in her new biography, his daughter doesn’t blame him.

“It must have been awful to be John Reith” she writes with remarkable sympathy, “he was always looking for something and not finding it… the man who is forever looking for his mother – a mother who was always out doing good works in the parish.”

Reith, she explains, was the youngest of six. His mother was the wife of a Scottish minister and too busy.

Mother blame pervades the media, pop psychology, celebrity biography. Most tin-pot dictators seem to have had a hard time growing up.

“If you’re a good mother, your kid will go to Harvard; if you’re a bad mother, your kid will be an axe murderer” wrote Susan Douglas, American co-author of “The Mommy Myth”, summing up our society’s unquestioning belief in a mother’s accountability.

In the last few months alone, newspaper and TV reports have linked “bad” mothering to everything from obesity to teenage pregnancy, hooliganism to illiteracy. And even baldness. And the media just plays up to our own prejudices.

Part of the problem for mothers is that everyone’s expectations of them are so high. Mothers should… encourage but not smother… mentor but not influence… be responsible for happiness but nurture independence too.

“I blame Mum for not standing up to our father,” admits Kristina, 30, “Dad was a drunk and a bully. He used to insult my sister and me and my mother just stood by.

When Did Mother Blaming Start:

Mother blaming, explains Eva Lloyd, Senior Lecturer in early childhood studies at the University of Bristol, first became a national pastime in the early 20th century, when psychology declared the mother the dominant influence on a child’s development – as did Freud.

One of the more preposterous of these ideas was the assertion by 1920’s US behaviourist John B Watson that children should be trained tough, like guard dogs, and that “sentimental” mothers ruined their children.

Other classics included the claim that autism was caused by emotionally cold mothers and homosexuality by a mother who wanted her boy to be a girl.

Those theories have long since been discredited. Now psychologists believe that a whole host of factors – genetic, biological and social – influence what turns one child into a model citizen and another into a parent killer.

Dr Sandra Wheatley, social psychologist with a special interest in motherhood, admits that mothers are easy targets partly because they are sponges for guilt.

“One study showed that sixty-three per cent of mothers doubt they are doing a good job,” she says.

Denise Tyler, editor of on-line magazine mother@work, agrees. “Whenever there’s a debate about working versus non-working mothers it always gets very defensive,” she points out.

“Working mothers are criticized for not being there for their children, yet full-time mothering is rarely respected.”

Studies suggest that a family environment is best for children up to the age of 13 months (note family, not necessarily mother) but that other kinds of care need not have a negative effect after that.

And in any case psychologist Judith Rich Harris’ work suggests that peer group is more influential on older children than mothers.

“When they go out”, says Rich Harris “they cast off behaviour acquired from parents like a dorky sweater their mother made them wear”.

Source:  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-413688/Why-mothers-blame.html 

Broken Families From Mommy Blame

Paula Chaplan writes: 

A tendency to blame mothers still pervades even when the host of other influences on children is taken into account: adults visiting or living in or near the home, teachers, other children, the media, books, and the children’s innate temperaments or predispositions. Nevertheless, in a study of 125 articles written by mental health professionals in scholarly journals, mothers were blamed for 72 different kinds of problems in their offspring, ranging from bed-wetting to schizophrenia. Each article was classified in relation to 63 types of mother blame, such as numbers of words used to describe mothers and fathers, direct attributions of children’s problems only to mothers, and unquestioning acceptance of mother blame from previous writers.  

Mother blame is common among not just therapists but also laypeople, and is powerful in a sexist society. Caplan revealed that quite often, those who will not tolerate offensive jokes about women will not object to the identical jokes if they are about mothers. Mother-blame has been taken to extremes, such as hate speech that is intended to shame, silence, and/or render its victims powerless, helpless, and hopeless.

Source  https://abatteredmother.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/mother-blaming/

As a result many children now blame their mothers rather than taking responsibility for their own choices. That renders these adult children helpless to solve their problems, and  dooming them to a life of dysfunction.  There is more profit in keeping people sick. 

“Some Adult children are so afraid of being seen as unable to cope that they deliberately hit out at the one person in their lives that unconditionally should love them, and accept them for what they are. The thing that adult daughters should remember though, that if they in turn have children, they reap what they have sown.”  https://www.answers.com/Q/Why_do_adult_daughters_hate_their_mothers 

Mothers who have adult children who blame them in this manner would be wise to remember: “We break our own harts when we expect others to love us as much as we love them.”

Men are toxic

Men are Toxic and Broken Families

  • Lately I have heard this term used against men.  Men are often described as unnecessary now that the government provides welfare for women and their children. In fact many couples are forced to avoid marriage, because financially it is better for them.
  • Several high profile mail newscasters have been fired simply by the accusation of a woman.  They were fired using trial by media rather than due process. Some may have been guilty. But do you really want to give up your right to a trial by jury in exchange for a trial by the media? It is interesting to note that the news casters were replaced by several people who are likely paid a lot less.
  • Several single women have said that they are glad they are raising the child by themselves so they don’t have a man influencing their children.
  • In this video a young man poses an important question about why he’s treated as guilty for all the bad things that have happened to women. He asks, “Is this fair”. If a woman accused him he’d be treated as guilty by the system.
  • It is important to note: judging people as a collective group destroys individual rights. Janice Harper, in her book “Mobbed” , explains how collective mobbing is created, and its consequences.


Here in the U.S. my Grandmother was the one that kept the extended family bonded.  My brothers and I were raised often surrounded by the influence of grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and cousins.

  • My Aunt Margaret and Uncle Cristobal, taught us the true meaning of love, and a respect for nature.
  • From Uncle Bill, we learned parenting skills, nurturing and how to cook.
  • From my Dad, we learned analytical thinking, and prayer combined with meditation like Jesus taught
  • Mom taught us a strong sense of ethics.
  • From the dysfunctional relatives, we learned what we did not want to become. (More on that below)
  • My brothers taught me that young boys have a very different idea about girls, Than girls think they do. Did you know that, in spite of the evidence, children are being taught that boys and girls think alike? Then parents wounder why their children don’t believe them.

Protecting our children from broken Families and lost souls

Today when parents try to explain to their children why they should not hang around drug users and “takers”, their children Often reply, “You are too Judgmental”. In trying to explain to the young people why it is important to not become entangled with narcissistic, or abusive personalities, you often hear, “But I love them.” They do not understand the consequences nor the red flags.

In my extended family we had the dysfunctional…the drug users, abusive personalities and the narcissistic disorders. So I saw the destruction and pain caused by such relationships. One can actually love and car about these dysfunctional people. But that does not mean we marry them.

Such personalities, like the serial killer, can be quite charming. They often latch on to very capable givers. But, in the end, the drug users, abusers and narcissistic personalities try to destroy the God given talents of the giver.

Money as a Guiding Star: causes broken families

I also witnessed this as a young girl. For a time my relative dedicated his life to the ministry, looking for and developing the best in people…their God given talents. I saw God work miracles of healing in the lives of many people in his Church. But when he abandoned that for money (made money his guiding star), the miracles ceased. No one is all good or all bad. But the path others choose is theirs, not yours.

A friend once told me that she use to pray to see the good in people, she ended up in a long abusive relationship that nearly destroyed her. She says she now prays to see people as they really are. We all have the capacity to walk in the “Light” (to express our God given talents), or to walk on the dark side (to loose our souls).

It Takes a Village

Yes it takes a village to raise a child.  A village of people close to that child, and who love and care about them….not a distant Bureaucrat who sees them as a statistic rather than a human being.

My hart goes out to all who have suffered at the hands of abusive relationships. The family unit is being destroyed with these dysfunctional ideas. It is often replaced by government agencies or gangs.  We witness the consequences, like increased violence, lower wages, broken families, and lost souls.

In conclusion: 

Insist that the FBI reopen the investigation on Epstein in order to find our missing children.   Keeping it age appropriate, share this with your children…especially girls who are not listening to you about abusive personalities.   


Slavery was a horrific practice. But there has been a lot of interesting conversations concerning the early U.S. Constitution and slavery. So I decided to research the matter by reading the actual early accounts rather than recent misinterpretations, and here is what I discovered.

slavery and the Constitution

It is widely said that Article I Section 2 refers to “slaves as three fifths of a person”. That is not exactly true: the Constitution does not use the word slave or slavery at all. It uses the words “other persons” in Article I Section 2, and there is a reason for that.

Article I Section of the Constitution states:

 The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct.The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall chuse their Speaker and other Officers;and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.

Not About Slavery?

At first glance one can easily make some false conclusions unless they know the history which I share with you here.

1. Article I (Section 2) was not about slavery. Check it out: it is all about State’s representation in the House of Representatives. Slavery only entered the discussion as a result of an attempted power grab. Each State wanted to make sure they had ample voting powers.

2. The non-slavery States were in a very heated discussion with the slave holding States. The latter insisted on a representation strictly according to the number of inhabitants, whether they were slaves or free persons. It was the non-slave holding States that wanted representation according to the number of free persons only (slaves not to be counted at all).

As one can see, the former version would have given the slave holding States a big advantage, and encouraged more slavery. By simply importing more slaves, a State could have easily increased their representation, and power in the House Of Representatives. The disagreement was so volatile that it nearly ended the creation of the Constitution of these United States.

3. After much discussion, a compromise was reached which was that three fifths of the slaves were counted as part of the number of free persons, as the basis of the appointment of Representatives. Interesting note: They purposely did not use the word slaves for reasons to be explained below. But it was well understood that “other persons” referred to the slave population.

Why the word slavery is not in the Constitution:

The word slavery was never used in the original Constitution for a reason. The framers did not want the Constitution to enforce or endorse slavery. In fact; George Mason, said: “[Slavery is a] slow Poison, which is daily contaminating the Minds & Morals of our People. Every Gentleman here is born a petty Tyrant…. And in such an infernal School are to be educated our future Legislators & Rulers. So some founders argued to preserve slavery in the colonies, but others strongly opposed it. “

The Constitution was written to end slavery:

Article I Section 9: “The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.”

“James Madison, who is known as the architect of the Constitution said, “Twenty years will produce all the mischief that can be apprehended from the liberty to import slaves. So long a term will be more dishonorable to the American character than to say nothing about it in the Constitution”

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, in his book “The Familiar Exposition Of The American Constitution”, writes “This clause as is manifest from its language, was designed solely to reserve to the Southern states, for a limited period, the right to import slaves. It is to the honor of America, that she should have set the first example on interdicting and abolishing the slave trade, in modern times.” (pg 185).

He further writes (on page 186): “And it ought be considered as a great point gained, in favor of humanity, that a period of twenty years should enable Congress to terminate, in America (as Congress in fact has terminated the African slave trade) a traffic, which has so long and so loudly upbraided the morals and justice of modern nations.” It is interesting to note that his book was written well before the Civil War.

Note:  Joseph Story was Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court from 1811 to 1845. He was a child of the American Revolution, born three years after the Declaration of Independence.

The video below explains even more, and tells you what Frederick Douglas, who was a scholarly black man, and himself once a slave, had to say about the Constitution and slavery.

No Reading Among Slaves

Now one can easily understand why the slave owners did not want blacks taught to read. They would have understood what Martin Luther King understood:

“In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men – yes, black men as well as white men – would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness… America has given the Negro people (His words not mine) a bad check, a check which has come back marked ‘insufficient funds.” ….Martin Luther King

The Underground Railroad and the Founders:

Visiting a black college had a profound effect on Ben Franklin. Several years later he joined an abolition Society. Franklin came to believe that slavery should be ended, and eventually freed his own two slaves.

American history is not perfect. We had Founding Fathers who practiced slavery. But why do we no longer hear about those who opposed it, and participated in the “Underground Railroad” to free the slaves? Why do public schools no longer teach the Constitution?

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learning disabilities misdiagnosed

Does Your Child Have A Learning Disability (or misdiagnoses)?

Learning Disabilities are often misdiagnosed even among professionals.  An increasing number of parents are told their children have a learning disability, and need to be held back or medicated. Many parents have concerns about the latter because medications do have side effects. Being held back can also have side effects.  If this describes you and your child, you will want to read this article before making a decision.

There certainly are times when medication is the answer. However there are numerous cases where children have other conditions that are too often misdiagnosed as a learning disabilities. Symptoms can mimic each other. So parents are wise to be apprehensive. This article provides valuable information and alternative choices that will help you and your child with this important decision. Note: These are not all the possablities, nor is it to put the blame on parents or teachers. This article is provided to imposer parents with information.

In this article, you will find the following:  (1)  Artisan personalities, which is the most common, (2) Scotopic Sensitivity  (3). Natural Time Clocks, which is often the case with analytical personalities like Einstein’s,  (4) The hearing problem called “cookie bites”, (5) The effects of stress (cortisol) on the brain, which is increasingly more common. (6) Pronouncing phonic sounds incorrectly, which is the second most common. (7)  whole word verses phonics.

Artisan Personalities (are frequently misdiagnosed as having a learning disability)

The Hands On Learners (Artisan Personality) are often misdiagnosed as having learning disabilities such as ADD or hyperactivity. They are also often described as “immature“, and held back in school repeatedly.

These children are brilliant until they enter the traditional school environment. They are the first to learn any task that is “hands on” like riding a bike. “Hands on learners” won’t give up until they master such tasks…they might fall off, get skinned up, but are right back on their project until they succeed.

º They like to entertain and to be entertained
º Prefer visual over verbal learning
º The more game like, or hands on the instruction, the better
º Team play and competition work well with these children
º It is more important to praise their performance, than to praise their product
º They like short activities in which they can move around
º Workbooks and flash cards can be devastating to these children

To learn more about different learning styles, you will want to click HERE.

Scotopic Sensitivity

Scotopic Sensitivity (also known as Irlen Syndrome) is so misunderstood that it is often misdiagnosed as a learning disability.  It is a sensitivity to lighting, that causes some children and adults to see things (including letters on paper) as if they were viewing a snowy TV screen, or it can cause them to see inanimate objects moving violently . Some or all of the following symptoms can be noticed in those that have Scotopic Sensitivity:

º Light sensitivity in conditions like glare from lights (car headlights), glare from surfaces, bright lighting, florescent lights (including energy saving light bulbs), sunlight and night vision.
º Contrast problems like black text on a white background can cause the letters or background to move rapidly for these children.
º Window blinds or verticals create a contrast that can create vision problems.
º Stripe and bold patterns can cause them to see violent movement where there is none, or to see them in 3D when they are flat.
º Restricted field of clear vision. They might see only part of a page clearly while the rest is blurry causing them to have trouble keeping track of where they are at on a page.
º Poor depth perception
º Attention and concentration is difficult for these children because of the above described
º These conditions can also cause them to be more susceptible to migraines and headaches
º Note: Some of these children love to draw, but refuse to read. Extreme cases of this condition have been misdiagnosed as Asperger Syndrome.

If you would like to know more about Scotopic Sensitivity, we recommend the following book: Reading by the Colors (Revised)

Note: According to Dr. Aman, this condition can Lead to headaches, anxiety, depression, problems reading, and depth perception issues. He further states that getting this condition treated and properly diagnosed can make a significant difference in your physical and mental health.

Natural Time Clocks

Speaking of one size not fitting all; natural time clocks for learning are different in children. My second grandson was a perfect example:

At the age of five, Koty had learned all of his phonic sounds (from a phonics/reading game…..because he hated flash cards), and could read all of his early reader books. He also enjoyed sounding out large words like “premium” as he and his mother traveled around town playing word games. But he had no desire to pick up a book and read it. He preferred, instead, to have his mother read to him as she had from the time he was little. Mother was becoming a bit worried, because other kids his age were able to read better than koty. But she had read the book Better Late Than Early: A New Approach to Your Child’s Education,  by Raymond and Dorothy Moore. As a result,  she decided to do as the scientific research suggested.

One day Koty again asked her to read a book for him. He was fascinated by the picture on the cover, and wanted to know what was inside. “Sorry Koty”, she replied, “I just don’t have the time right now”. Koty, anxious to learn what was inside this interesting book, began reading it by himself. He did not put it down until he had finished. Mom even allowed him to read late in bed to nurture his enthusiasm.

What a miracle! Just as the Moores had predicted, Koty’s enthusiasm was lit. From that day forward he became an avid reader, and advanced several grade levels in a very short period of time…passing his peers.

My little brother, who is now grown, describes himself as having experienced this same situation. He says he learned to read later than most because he simply was not ready. By the way, he is of above average intelligence.

By the way, as a child Albert Einstein was described as a slow learner, and his teacher believed that he would not succeed in any career.

One can learn more about this research at this link:  Different Learning Styles.

Recent research reveals many children are misdiagnosed as having learning disabilities simply because of their birth month (simply too young). _________________________________

Hearing Conditions such As “Cookie Bites” are not learning disabilities

This one I experience myself, and it is very often misdiagnosed until late in life (for me t was in my 30‘s). Hearing specialists can test for this condition, and prescribe digital hearing aids to help. Allow me to describe this condition for you.

Children with this condition will be able to hear some sounds very well, and others not so well. For example: I hear Rs, and Gs. However F, and S sound just alike to me unless I am able to read your lips. These children become very proficient at reading lips, and logically filling in missing sounds and words. As a result parents often never realize that it is an actual hearing loss.

º You will find that these children seem to follow instructions better when they are looking at you then they do when not able to see your face.
º They will also commonly mispronounce words causing them to be poor spellers, and poor at decoding phonic sounds to form words (they often pronounce phonic sounds incorrectly).
º Tip: when teaching these children their phonic sounds, be sure they are able to look directly at your lips.

My children say they thought I was ignoring them when they said Mom. The truth was, I did not hear the M…I only heard short vowel o.
Many children with hearing problems often compensate by becoming good listeners, and good at reading faces.

Stress And The Toxic Hormone Cortisol cause learning disabilities

learning disabilities

SPECT Scan Of Unhealthy Brain

If your child is experiencing stress, pay close attention to this section. The results of too much Stress causes learning disabilities, and must be addressed.  When we experience stress, it causes an elevated level of the toxic hormone cortosol, and children are less able to deal with stress then are adults.

Studies show that the toxic effect of excessive cortisol resulting from stress, has an effect on the brain. Note: The effects can be lasting if stress happens over a long period of time. This hormone was found to be one of the major causes of behavior problems, learning disabilities (ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, hyperactivity, ext), confusion, and impaired thinking in adults and in children. This hormone effects children’s ability to learn.

I find children can become stressed simply because they think something is wrong with them if other children are learning to read faster then they are. Some of the conditions mentioned above , diet (like an allergy or sensitivity to sugar), incorrect disciplining procedures, or excessive testing  can cause stress. Very sensitive children often need different discipline practices than other children might. In large classrooms this is often very hard to accomplish (one size never fits all).

Madeline Lavine PhD is a psychologist with over 30 years experience working with children. In her book, Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success , she explains that the way we are educating children today is actually causing learning disabilities.

 Pronouncing Phonic Sounds Incorrectly

I have worked with many children who falsely believed that something was wrong with them because they were not reading as well as other children, and this alone can cause stress for children (elevated cortisol levels). Pronouncing the phonic sounds incorrectly is one of the most common causes of an inability to read. Not all children are hindered by this, but way to many are. So if your child knows their phonic sounds, but is having trouble reading this section is definitely for you.

One of my students was enunciating only the letter w incorrectly. But she believed that something was wrong with her because others were reading better than she was, and it became a self fulfilling prophecy. She was stressed every time she was asked to read a book, She could read perfectly while playing our reading game because play takes away stress. But put a book in front of her, and she couldn’t read the same word that she just read while playing the game.

So in this child’s case I used the board game to teach her blending of the phonic sounds (especially words with w in them). After she became confident that she could read using the game, I presented her with a grade level book. When she struggled with a word in the book, I simply put that word on the red part of the board game (not playing the game, just using the static cling letters, and placing the word anywhere on the board). She confidently read the word placed on the game board (it was a game to her…no stress). Than I had her move back and forth from the game to the book until she got it correctly in the book. After doing this for a period of time, she lost her fear of books.

She went from failing status to top reading group in her class, and the teacher said it also improved her spelling. The following video explains more so that you can check to see if your child is experiencing this condition:

Phonic Sounds Verses Whole Word

This was another one I personally experienced. I suspect my teacher resorted to teaching me word recognition because she recognized that I was not grasping the phonic sounds. She likely never realized it was due to the “cookie bite” hearing loss I describe above.

However not knowing the phonic sounds caused me to read very slowly, and to hate reading. It took me hours to do homework that took other children a much shorter time to accomplish. It was not until I learned phonics that I began to love reading, and my past speed reading classes finally took effect! The following video explains more:


If your child has learning disabilities:

Meet Karen, a tutor, and hear what she has to say about the children she helps with Dyslexia, ADD, ADHD and Aspergers Syndrome:

Karen uses and endorses Ring Around The Phonics for children with ADD, dyslexia and asperger syndrome. In fact, she says this game landed her tutoring job after her nephew’s tutoring service saw what it did for him.

P.S. Many parents who have children with Autism are finding great results by using the method taught at RDI Connect.

In Conclusion

Being informed, and participating in your child’s diagnosis can make a difference in the outcome of his future.  No one cares more than you.


Help Your Child Learn

Are you interested in helping your child learn?  Does it break your heart to see them struggling?  Please allow me to tell you a true story that will help your child learn.

True Story

It was in the 70’s when I was given my first group of children that had not learned to read with the traditional method of teaching (One size fits all that has only increased with government’s Central Planning/ Government mandated curriculum and testing). That group of 8 were all first graders from the same class.  They were given to me shortly after Christmas, and the teacher had decided that they were going to fail.  This decision is traditionally made by that time of year, because it allows teachers to prepare the other children for the year end test, which allows them to graduate. She (the teacher) told me that I was to help these children learn to read. She continued to work with them on every subject except reading.  So I knew that I was to be their babysitter for the remainder of the year. These eight children were considered dumb by their classmates. It was absolutely no fault of the teacher…It was just kids observations, and conclusions.


Seven were hands on learners, and one had a short term memory problem.  I knew these kids were smart, and could learn. So I just could not give up on helping them by simply babysitting. Perhaps you can imagine how inadequate I felt, and, to be honest, scared. So I did the only thing I knew to do, and that was to pray for guidance. I asked a Higher Power to show me how to help these children. That very night, in a dream, the whole method was presented to me.  So the next school day, I was well prepared.  The children loved it.

Parents often approach me with the same feelings I had.  They are concerned that they are not capable of teaching their children to read. So I ask them, “Can you read?”  When they say, “Yes”, my reply is: “Then you can teach your child to read. With the right tools it is a ton of fun, and much easier than you think.”  We have even provided you free videos so you can make sure you are teaching the phonic sounds correctly. This is import for some children, and the first video explains the most commonly mispronounced sounds….Free Phonic Sounds Videos Here


One little boy (the tallest in the group) was advancing more slowly than the others.  So one child declared, “He is dumb!”  The tallest child lowered his eyes, and his face.  He looked so sad, and devastated. It was heart breaking.   I knew that he lived on a small farm, and could drive a tractor.  So I quickly said, “Oh no, he is not dumb!  Did you know that he can drive a tractor?”  The other kids exclaimed, “He Can?”  “Yes”, I said.  The little boy who thought he was the dumbest of the dumb, was suddenly aroused.  He raised his face, and his blue eyes widened with surprise.   From that day forward, he was considered the hero of the group, and, more importantly, he learned more quickly. In fact all seven of these children began learning faster in other subjects simply because they discovered that they were not dumb after all.  A child’s attitude about themselves can affect their learning ability.  

help your child learn

Because there was so much divisiveness in the group, I told them that once they all learned their first 8 sounds, we would all read their first book together.  That day arrived rather quickly, and the kids were so excited (me too).  Every time one of them read a sentence, we all giggled in delight as the reader rapped their arms around themselves in a hug, and giggled with joy.  They had become a team eager to help one-another.help your child learn


When this first group was able to read at grade level, I went to the teacher, and told her that seven were ready for her to teach reading again.  She did not believe me, so for the rest of the year, I was their only reading teacher.  I did not know it then, but the method was whole brain teaching, which involves as many of the senses as possible. These children didn’t learn with the traditional method, but they easily learned with a hands on method. Thus their self-esteem was better, and their stress dissolved as their excitement increased.  Whole brain teaching helps children learn, and studies show that it even improves the health of the brain.

To the teacher’s surprise, seven of my group passed the end of the year reading test, and were moved on to second grade.  Over the years I repeated that success with children from kindergarten through sixth grade, using that very same method.  Adults began asking me to teach them how to help their children who were struggling with their reading. So my daughter, some home school families, a game designer, and an English college professor, helped me to develop the learning game Ring Around The Phonics. Because of their loving efforts, it is now easy for you to help your child. (Customers can buy this product on our website).

To my surprise other educators began to show me that they were using it to help children learn:

  • Phonics, Reading and Blending of Sounds
  • Comprehension, Communication and Listening Skills
  • Spelling and Vocabulary
  • Foreign Languages
  • All sorts of language arts subjects
  • To learn more about the game, click here.  Be sure to check out the savings with our value pack click here (The fourth purchasing option). 

Now You Can Help Your Child learn

Don’t let your child suffer any longer.  You can help your child with Whole Brain Teaching…  Help them learn to read, the easy and fun way, as have many others just like you.

Nile Stanley, Ph.D. reading professor, University of North Florida

Dr. Stanley explains why this method is so effective (A Vygotskian Perspective).

Note: Studies show that when children discover their talents (that which lights their fire), they will learn previously difficult subjects just to be able to do that which sparks them.  Read more about that on our blog.  

Suicides, depression, and violence are on the increase in our public schools.

Only recently have we began to research the cause, and the findings are very revealing:


We  recently saw  a young boy (only a sophomore) from Corona Del Mar High School in California commit suicide. According to a now viral letter written by the high school principal of a neighboring school, a suicide note left alleging school pressures led to his death. It has given pause to the entire community, including school leaders and parents. How did we get here? We got here when we opened every conversation with our high schoolers about futures, goals, and achievements with the words: “I just want you to succeed (make money).” We should be using the words, “I just want you to develop your individual (God given if you will) talents ….to be who you were meant to be. ”  

Depression and ADD

The school librarian in this link is right on. I worked as a professional tutor in the public school system. Many very bright hands on learners, and analytical thinkers do not learn from the method now mandated in the public school system. The conventional method (workbooks and lectures) don’t work for about 40% of the children.  Those individuals who don’t learn with this method are treated like they are dumb, and feeling shamed, isolated, or worthless. So they were given to me to tutor.

Simply by using hands on learning methods (Whole Brain Teaching like Ring Around The Phonics), they quickly and easily learned.  You should have seen the transformation once they discovered they could learn, and did not need to be drugged. We are overly concerned about “success” (making money in the workforce), and not concerned enough about developing a child’s natural individual talents. I witnessed countless teachers who deeply cared about the children, but their hands were tied by a bureaucracy that cares more about money than they do the individual child. 


When Jacob Barnett was 2 years old, he was diagnosed with moderate to severe autism. Doctors told his parents that the boy would likely never talk or read and would probably be forever unable to independently manage basic daily activities like tying his shoe laces.

But they were sorely, extraordinarily mistaken.

Today, Barnett — now 14 — is a Master’s student, on his way to earning a PhD in quantum physics. According to the BBC, the teen, who boasts an IQ of 170, has already been tipped to one day win the Nobel Prize. (Source:  https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/jacob-barnett-autistic-14-year-old-nobel-prize_n_3254920.html )

Albert Einstein’s story is very similar. Gandhi failed at the career he was educated for, but he united a Nation.

How Did We Get Here?

Increasingly our children are suffering from depression, suicidal tendencies, violence, and anxiety.  Guns or no guns will solve this. We allow the news media and emotions to divide us with gun issues.  Focus on the kids and the issues they are facing, not guns.



suicide, depression, violence, our children

Dysfunctional Ideas Create Dysfunctional Lives

“As A Man Thinketh”

As a little girl I use to tell my Mom, “There was a difference between positive thinking, and sticking your head in the sand”.  She thought that if she acknowledged a problem, she was saying a giving it more power.   So problems weren’t discussed, and  festered until they exploded.

Years later I attended a workshop given by a psychologist on why our prison system was not working…Why it was not rehabilitating  prisoners.  He had been part of a 15 year study on this subject, and said they discovered the following:

  1. Education does not rehabilitate, because if you educate a criminal, they don’t rob you with a gun anymore. They rob you with a computer.
  2. Getting them to express their feelings does not work either.  If you get an angry criminal to express his feelings, he simply expresses more anger.

What Does Work

The psychologist went on to explain that we all have false ideas. Criminals simply have more of them.  It was discovered that by changing their false (dysfunctional ideas) to functional ones, was the solution to rehabilitation.  For example:  Many criminals would say to him, “Everyone is doing it”.  His reply was, “Depends on who you hang around.  My friends aren’t doing those things.”  The other psychologists were totally enthralled in what he was saying, until he held up the book, As a Man Thinketh: 21st Century Edition (The Wisdom of James Allen)  “This book is exactly what I have been talking about”, said the speaker.

True Story

As a youth group leader, a 16 year old girl came to me in tears.  She was pregnant, and said,  “I don’t understand why God is punishing me.  My motives were good.  I love the boy.”  I said to her, “what happens if I stick my finger in the electric socket?”  She replied, “You get shocked.”  “Yes”, I said, “and what happens if an innocent baby sticks their finger in an electric socket?”  She replied, “It gets shocked.” I went on to explain that it was not God punishing me, the baby or her.  It is simply the Law Of Cause And Effect.

Because the sixteen year old falsely believed that her good motives would protect her, she was vulnerable, and open to all kinds of tragedies.  Because my Mom falsely believed that she could not acknowledge a problem, she was doomed to suffer the consequences.

In Conclusion:  It is our false (dysfunctional) ideas that lead us into trouble. Refusing to talk about something negative that is happening is dysfunctional.  It carries negative consequences.

Understanding Different Learning Styles impowers parents and Educators

Different learning styles: whole-brain-left-right

Learning styles are sometimes described using different words:   spatial/visual learners who learn by seeing. Some are tactile/kinetic learners who learn by doing and/or touching. Others are auditory learners who learn by listening and talking. The rest may be logical learners who learn by thinking. However Plato broke these different learning styles into much more useful detail, and researchers are rediscovering his words of wisdom still important today. Understanding the different learning styles/ personality types is important because it improves one’s abilities as a parent, teacher, and spouse.

The Analytical Learning Style

In the video above, you will learn about the NT personality (Rational/ Analytical) learning style. They make up only 6 to 12 percent of the average population. Many of the ways they learn best are as follows:

· Because Nts are such a small percentage of the population, they are unlikely to have role models in their lives to help them develop their own unique talents. They are often left up to their own experimentation and exploration for that need. Thus the Unschooling Method of instruction works well for these children.

· Sp adults (see second video) are wise to help the rational child by providing them tactical roles, because little Nts are usually eager to add concrete techniques to their skills. Self esteem is developed by recognizing and praising their inventiveness and cleverness. They are not usually impressed with gold stars on their hands or papers…it makes no sense to them.

· These children love board games like Monopoly , and learning games like Ring Around The Phonics. Note: unlike most children, they will quickly get tired of doing the same activity cards in Ring Around The Phonics. When that happens, I start letting them write their own activity cards, helping them if they have not yet learned to write. It is an excellent way to start teaching them writing skills.

·They are more likely to practice reading if it is a subject that interests them. For example, one of my students likes Star Wars and science books. So I will start out reading to him, pointing to the words as I read, pausing periodically for him to pick up where I leave off (especially when I get to the big words). Because he is interested in the subject matter, he continues the reading (out loud) without any hesitation or instruction from me.

· Once the NT knows their phonic sounds, I use Ring Around The Phonics to teach them root words, prefixes, suffixes and word families which helps them decode the larger words. They also like a challenge, so I will sometimes say, “I am going to try to trick you. lets see if you can read this big word.” Usually just stating something that way motivates them, and they will usually figure it out. However, if they can’t figure it out, they can become quite upset with themselves. That can be a time to teach them it is OK not to be perfect.

· Nts can become quite stubborn if others try to manipulate them. However they can benefit greatly by parents and teachers who help them understand why social niceties are important. It is also important to explain to them why you are having them do something they don’t want to do. They are more likely to cooperate if there is a reason they perceive as logical.

· Most of all parents do well to read to their rational child. They are fascinated by stories.

· They look critically at any plan of action, particularly if based on tradition or custom. Rational children need help in understanding that these things are important to others, and a smooth operation to society. When I say understand, I mean the logic behind such things…not just because “I say so”.

· This is funny but true: The ST child likes to accomplish something while learning, and the NT child likes to be taught how to do things just to satisfy his desire to know. So both personalities will learn while building something like a room addition. However, a word of caution; the NT will often stray from the standard way of doing the job just to find out “what if”. It can be quite an adventure.

Nts are very good at analytical thinking, and have trouble understanding that their sarcastic remarks toward others, who are not so analytical, are hurtful. They benefit greatly by understanding the different personality types, and it helps them to develop some of the social niceties.

Note: (It is important not to put inflexible labels on ourselves and others, because, even though we tend to be more of one personality than another, we are never one hundred percent in any one category, and different situations can bring out different traits.)


The Sp (Artisan, hands on, kinesthetic) learning Style


In this video, you will learn about the Sp (Artisan) learning style. Even though they are 38% of the of the average classroom, they are the most misunderstood. As a result, studies show, they are the most likely to drop out of school early. Some of the ways they learn best are as follows:

· They like to entertain and to be entertained

· Prefer visual over verbal learning

· The more game like it is, the better

· Team play and competition works well with these children

· It is more important to praise their performance, than to praise their product

· They like short activities in which they can move around

· For children that are learning to read, or having trouble learning to read we have found nothing better than Ring Around the Phonics. Hands on learners love it.

· The Artisan often sees other personality types as “stupid”. However if they are helped to learn about, and appreciate the unique gifts of others, they can become Great leaders.

· This is funny but true: The Artisan child likes to accomplish something while learning, and the NT child likes to be taught how to do things just to satisfy his desire to know. So both personalities will learn while building something like a room addition. However, a word of caution; the NT will often stray from the standard way of doing the job just to find out “what if”. It can be quite an adventure.

(It is important not to put inflexible labels on ourselves and others, because, even though we tend to be more of one personality than another, we are never one hundred percent in any one category, and different situations can bring out different traits.)

The Nf (intuitive-feeling, idealist) Learning Style

In this video, you will learn about the NF personality (Intuitive Feeling) learning style. They are only 12 percent of the average population, but have had a profound effect on society. In fact, Gandhi was an NF. Some of the ways they learn best are as follows:

· A personal note written about their work can be a powerful motivator to these children as long as it is positive. A negative approach can provoke an NF into rebellion or inaction.

· Like the SP, the NF learns best from discussion and role playing methods .

· Their vocabulary often exceeds their ability to put things on paper. So, putting their thoughts on a recording first, often helps their creativity.

· Unlike the SP, they prefer team work over competition. They are highly sensitive, and feel the pain of others. As a result, they will often let others win so as not to hurt them. When I play learning games with these children, I am quick to announce that everyone is a winner because they completed the task.

· “The NF child can be particularly responsive to teachers who are accepting and nourishing, who verbalize recognition of feelings, who individualize their instruction, who use lots of small group interaction, who genuinely respond to and accept the ideas and opinions of class members, and who avoid sarcasm and ridicule as a means of control.” (page 128 Please Understand Me: Character and Temperament Types

· The Idealist learns best through discussion, and role playing, but will adjust to various methods of teaching (Eclectic) as long as it is serving the people involved, and not perceived as cruel or exclusive.

· These children seem to have high moral expectations of themselves, and can be perfectionists in that regard. Unlike the SP, the NF can feel guilt when acting devilish, and often have to learn how to stand up for themselves in a positive manner.

· While the SP wants to know how his toys work, the NF child is more likely to weave imaginary stories around his/ her toys. They can become quite attached to them, feeling a great loss when one is lost or left behind.

· The Introverted NF can become very isolated, and needs help developing social skills in order to develop their full potential. That is not to say they need to become more extroverted, but that they need to develop some social skills in dealing with others.

(It is important not to put inflexible labels on ourselves and others, because, even though we tend to be more of one personality than another, we are never one hundred percent in any one category, and different situations can bring out different traits.)



Sj (Guardian) Learning Style

In this video, you will learn about the SJ (Guardian) learning style. They make up 40 to 45 percent of the average population. Some of the ways they learn best are as follows:

· They like sticky stars and the like placed on their papers and hands.

· Unlike the SP (artisan), the guardian child will sit quietly waiting for instructions.

· Little Sjs usually respond well to specific assignments and responsibilities like feeding the pets, or setting the table.

· Their source of pride is the approval they receive from figures of authority when they do a job well. Doing their best loses its appeal if approval is not forthcoming. If they are less than helpful, their self respect can suffer as they develop feelings of guilt.

· They do well with workbooks, and the Conventional Method of instruction.

My father was an NT (rational), and my mother an SJ. Mother was quite intelligent in her own way. She was far more successful at running business enterprises, and tending to details. But because she was not good in analytical conversations, my father did not appreciate her unique intelligence. SJs are a good balance for the NT only if the differences are understood and appreciated. Otherwise they become a source of irritation and division.

Note: (It is important not to put inflexible labels on ourselves and others, because, even though we tend to be more of one personality than another, we are never one hundred percent in any one category, and different situations can bring out different traits.)


The book below not only teach more about the personality types, but it also has a test that one can take with family and friends to help us understand each other better. I found this activity fun and informative. I highly recommend the book because it improves relationships.

Please Understand Me II, by David Keirsey

ADD / ADHD:  It is often thought that these children are unable to concentrate.  In reality, the person with ADD / ADHD is apt to lock in with an exceptional degree of focus when he is genuinely interested.  (Resource 1, Page 50).  At an early age Einstein was considered lacking in intelligence, because teachers had trouble getting him to focus. (Resource 1, page 56).

  1. Because of MRI and SPEC brain scans, psychologists are rethinking everything they knew about learning disorders.
  2.  According to Dr. Amen, there are 7 different kinds of ADD  .  Note that not all of them show brain damage, which indicates that some may be what is often described as different learning styles as far back as Plato. In other words, at least some of those diagnosed with ADD/ ADHD may not have a learning disorder at all.
  3. Like so many learning disorders, there are gifts of genius attached.  Einsteins dis-tractability, which is common among children with ADD / ADHD, is what enabled him to develop his Theory of Relativity.  It is important that parents and educators understand their children’s strengths, and not just their weaknesses.  Spend more time on their interests, rather than their weaknesses. (Resource 1) page 63). What really disables a person is their belief that they are disabled (Resource 1, page 64). There is good suffering, which is working at something. Bad suffering is humiliation, depression and isolation (Resource 1, page 65)

The Genius That Goes With ADD / ADHD 

Understanding ADD / ADHD

  1.  These children showed an enhanced ability to overcome “constraining influences”.  (Resource 1, page 54).
  2.  40% of children with ADD / ADHD also have dyslexia. When they are reading something that disinterests them, their mind wonders uncontrollably (Resource 1, Page 57). When they are reading something that interests them, their mind can be laser-beam intense. (Resource 1, Page 58).  This also describes the learning styles analytical thinker, and hands on learners.
  3.   Someone who is impulsive by nature can “make a lot of mistakes” in business.  So hook up with someone who is by nature methodical and looks at all the possibilities (Resource 1, page 63). Walt Disney was highly creative in his field of interest. But he was unable to make a success of his  abilities, until he hired his bother to help him.
  4.   Drugs  do not teach the behaviors that will help those with ADD / ADHD  function in the world and workplace as they grow older (Resource 1, page 67).
  5. When given the least structure, these children are better able to discipline themselves (Resource 1, page 67).  They also need to take frequent breaks (Resource 1, page 69).   Both of these things are also true with the learning styles of the Hands On Learner, and the Analytical Thinker.
  6. What is obvious to children with ADD / ADHD and dyslexia, others don’t see at all.  They have an uncanny ability to connect seemingly unrelated ideas. (Resource 1, pages 70-71). It is a mistake to think that we need to make brain differences go away (Resource 1, page 77).  Einstein, who so hated rote learning, once said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” (Resource 1, Page 78)

How To Help These Children Succeed

  1.  Finding a field or area of interest that captivates the child with with ADD / ADHD is perhaps the single most important way to ensure future success in life (Resource 1, Page 72).  When you find areas of talent,then motivation will follow.” (Resource 1, Page 74).


Helping the Child With a Learning Disorder

Learning DisordersIt can be most painful and destructive when a child is labeled with a learning disorder such as: (1) Dyslexia, (2) ADD, ADHD and other attention disorders, (3) anxiety, (4) Melancholy (depression), (5) Bipolar, (6) Schizophrenia, (7) or Autism Spectrum. It is not only painful and destructive to the child, but to the parent and society as well.  Insurance companies require these  labels in order to issue payment on treatment.  But it is by nature very inaccurate and misleading: it is not how those in the medical field treat patients (resource 1, page 15).

It is important to note that recent discoveries using brain MRI and SPEC scans are causing those in the field to rethink everything they thought they knew about learning disorders.   Science and insurance companies both were wrong.  Here is what parents and teachers of these inaccurately labeled children need to understand:

Important things to know about all learning disorders:

We have been focusing on areas of learning in which  children were weakest.  We now know it is much more important to focus mostly on a child’s interests (80%), and only some on their weakest areas (20%).  This is just opposite of what educators have been doing, and can cause more harm than good.

  1. There is no such thing as a normal brain.  (resource 1 pg 7)
  2. Scientists were surprised to learn that the most creative individuals are at higher risk for mental illness than are the less creative. The world is full of fascinating people who didn’t achieve such success despite their brain differences, but rather in large part because of their brain differences.   (resource 1, pg 9) Einstein could not have made his historic scientific breakthroughs were it not for his day dreamy, distractible mind (ADD).  In the words of psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman, ”  I don’t think everyone (with a brain difference) has the potential to achieve greatness in every field, but I think everyone has the potential to achieve greatness in some field.” (resource 1, pg 11) If we educators find that spark that ignites their interest, these children find ways to achieve what interests them, even if it takes improving what they are weak in.
  3. “The irony is that while my patients are focused on getting past the obstacles that exist between them and their larger goals, it is very often, the case that there is great strength to be mind from those obstacles, and brilliance to be observed in how my patients both utilize their struggles, and maneuver around them.” (resource 1,pg 12) In fact children who do not learn to overcome obstacles are less equipped to  overcome them as adults.
  4. “Every single healthy human being lies somewhere on every psychopathology spectrum (e.g. schizophrenia, autism, mood disorders). What’s more, we each show substantial fluctuations on each of these dimensions each day, and across our lifespan”. Mental disorders are not only prevalent, they’re overlapping.  There is no such thing as a single, neat diagnosis. (resource 1, pg 8)


  1.  Plato talked about different personality types /learning styles, and it still holds true today.  Different personalities types/ learning styles are often misdiagnosed as having learning disabilities (resource 2).
  2. Whole Brain Teaching improves the health of the brain for those with learning disabilities. Learn more at our website.


  1. The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius , by Gail Saltz, M.D.
  2. Please Understand Me II., by David Keirsey


Homeschool For This Teacher

Following is a delightful and funny true life story told by a public school teacher who became a homeschool mom.  If you are thinking about homeschooling, or if you want to improve your homeschool abilities, this article is for you.

True Story

“At first I wanted them to sit at a desk and learn like I did.  I set up my classroom like a school classroom with a computer station.  I began using K12.  I wanted a teacher who “really taught” that particular grade to oversee everything.  I had never taught elementary school.  I set up a desk for each child that faced a big whiteboard at the front of my classroom.  We sat in circle time at the beginning of each day and we would discuss the weather, day of the week, and all these other things.  It was the most productive time of the day, but I thought it was because the kids were “fresh.”  I found later that it’s because they were totally, whole body engaged.  (This link is an article on the Florida Homeschool Association. When you homeschool, the whole world becomes your classroom.) They were wiggling and going to the bulletin board to put up the answers.  They were lying on the floor and getting tickled when they answered.  But it was what I saw in a “real classroom, so that was why I tried it.

I felt that I needed a textbook for each class, K12 provided all these textbooks and workbooks (one for each class) and I intended to use them.  I watched the grades slip in spelling and I saw the boys learn the spelling rule and list of words and then forget.  Their writing was full of misspelled, former spelling words.  I watched my youngest hate phonics “class” to the point where he was beginning to hate reading.  And I watched my oldest get frustrated by the rhythm of follow the textbook’s activities then do 2 worksheets of problems in the math program.

Circle Time !

Facing those 3 problems: too much kill and drill/ follow the textbook/ and desk time was MUCH less productive than circle time.  We redesigned our room. We are now down to 2 desks and 2 computers (for all 4 of us).  We spend most of our time on the couch (in the living room), the floor (2 bean bags and 2 huge pillows), and running around than we do at desks. Plus experiments at the kitchen table, ya know where there’s a SINK nearby, just make much more sense.  We can all gather round, everybody can get their hands involved. For the textbook problem I realized I would need to leave K12.  So I did.  (Well there were a billion other reasons for us to leave, but this is the reason that applies here)

While teaching in a public school, Video was a dirty word!!  Now I know that for some learning styles it works very well (and easy to do when homeschooling).  In the past few months we’ve watched many science documentaries.  We’ve read books and then watched the movie and written or spoke comparisons.  I’ve watched their oral vocabulary soar!!  Not getting a phonics rule, a chemical reaction, and a trajectory equation?  There is most likely a YouTube (a free homeschooling too)l for that!  And it probably has a song about it, especially for the LOs.

More Flexability

I’ve also learned that my response time is much faster when teaching fewer kids.  So I don’t need to teach them for 6 hours/day (another benefit made possible by homeschooling) .  I can respond to their uncertainty or find a better way to explain it much faster. Or I can move to something else, take the evening looking for a better way and hit it fresh in the morning.  I can be much more flexible than I could ever be in the classroom.  We can go outside (without asking permission or filling out a form!!) (the blessings that come with homeschooling), I don’t have to tell anybody if I plan to blow something up!!  I just do it.  Then some really cool things happened:

I learned to stop giving grades.  When they get above 87%, we move on.  They don’t need a grade and I don’t need them to take a test in order for me to figure out they have or don’t have something.

The Old One Room School House Method

I learned that it is okay to have my kids teach or help each other.  I tried that my first few years teaching in the PSs, and I would end up having to teach it again because the group didn’t understand it well enough to teach it in the first place.  But now, my oldest has had the lesson before, so it is a great review for him to teach it to his brothers.  Then I can build on it and go deeper with him.

So then I needed to find a solution to those textbooks.  I found the solution in my objectives!!  I was looking at them the wrong way!!  When I was using k12 the objectives came packaged to my door.  When I went out on my own, I bought the “2nd grade science book” and the “second grade math book” and “spelling grade 3.”  I created some general objectives and went on with the lessons.  I followed the book.

The World Is My School Room

I learned that my general objectives were great, but if I made my specific objectives even more specific, I was able to use them as discussion questions and move on without a test.  Then I noticed that my objectives were a great jumping off point for finding books and materials.  In the PS, the materials were usually the jumping off point for making my objectives.  Looking at it from the flipped perspective opens up learning to a world experience.  I could ask the boys to come up with objectives themselves!  What do YOU want to be able to do?  And boy oh boy did they provide!  Using their objectives and some of mine along with a scope and sequencing guide: off we went.  I would find multiple textbooks for each subject.  And it was OK if we didn’t follow in order and we didn’t finish the book and we used it just as a reference for its great experiments.  We might use another part next year!  I could tag things that we liked, didn’t like, whatever. The world opened up to us.  I began to see that the trip to the farmer’s market was a learning opportunity.  We stopped “book learning” altogether for the big holiday breaks and learned through our baking, card making, gift giving.  I took them to the bank and opened an account.  They get a statement and we talk about it every month.  Just every single day. Learning.

Lead And Follow

I’m sure my journey isn’t “done” and probably never will be.  BUT now I stopped thinking like I was taught in college about how to teach the material.  I’ve learned to both lead and follow.  It’s brought me closer to the boys.  We have many more good days now, and many fewer bad days (oh they are still there!  And still make me want to rip my hair out). One of the few things I’ve kept is the diagnostic tests.  We still take an online diagnostic test.  Their “scores” always put them about 3-4 grade levels ahead, so I “know” that they are doing well.  But mostly it’s so that the naysayers in the family just shush and let us go on……By “bluerooffarm”, on Cafemom.”

Thanks to this teacher, turned homeschool mom, for allowing me to print her personal story.  She explains common mistakes that many make when they start homeschooling, and how she improved her ability to homeschool.  Her story can save you and your children a lot of heart ache. Homeschool is so much more fun when you use full body engagement.