Friday, July 17, 2009

Special Needs- Thriving NOT Striving!

There I was minding my own business, washing dishes when my young son Seth walks up to me, “Mama did you know the sun is a star”? Pausing to look into his sweet little face I said, “Yes I did, but I’m so proud of you, where did you learn that”? He looks up at me as though I am a little dense, “Time4Learning”. (duh) I can’t help but smile as he walks off to go play.

My heart is so very full as I watch my children thrive like never before. You see, I am a homeschooling mom of four sons. Two of them struggle with Central Auditory Processing Disorder. Which means that when information goes into the brain auditorily it often doesn’t go where it should. It’s almost as though information is coated with teflon and it slides around making it difficult for the child to find it and use it when they need it.

From 1998 until 2007 I used a slew of homeschool programs. Some gave us wonderful results, but they were very teacher intensive. When a friend of mine shared Time4Learning with me it changed my life. You see Time4Learning is a computer based educational program that has strong interactive graphics which pull my children in. The vivid colors and sounds add “velcro” to information so that it sticks and stays put. At the end of our first year with Time4Learning my boys (all four) went up in math more than EVER before.

However, that was just the beginning. Once I found the POWER of media it began to change our lives. We now use Netflix to rent DVD’s that coincide with our history and science. It makes information come ALIVE! My oldest son used an on-line program for creative writing. The simple process of typing and sending helped him to focus more on the creative and mechanics of writing and less on the actual writing. (though we work on his writing) If you have a child that struggles to hang onto information try bringing in the internet and see if it doesn’t change your life? Here are just a few reasons we use on-line learning and multi-media in our home:

1- Information Sticks and Stays Put!

2- Children gain confidence as they become more independent.

3- My children learn how to research and become lifetime learners as they work independently.

4- I am better able to use my time to nurture my children by reading a loud great books.

5- Laundry and dishes don’t seem nearly as overwhelming as my time is freed up!

In a few weeks I am preparing to speak to moms and dads of special needs children at a homeschool conference. There are many MANY tips I share, but at the top of my list is the power of your computer. It helps you to work smarter and not harder!