Posts Tagged ‘learning differences’

Is this Old Age setting in?

August 12, 2010

I have come to realize over the years that I have some sort of mild case of dyslexia…. especially when I’m tired.  I’ll be typing along and realize that I used the right finger in the right place, but it was the wrong hand.  Also, if I quickly look at a phone number and then try to dial it, I’ll reverse the last numbers.  This has not hampered me in life, other than having more of a need for spell check than most, I’m assuming.  And I’m real careful with numbers, especially if they are important ones…. like credit cards or bank accounts.

All that to say….. this mild learning difference has now creeped into my speech.  I’ll be chatting along and I’ll use a word that starts with the right letter, but is ENTIRELY the wrong word.  Just this morning I was attempting to say, “I was standing on the porch” and it came out, “I was standing on the pillow.”  Same letter, different word, WHOLE different meaning in the sentence.  My kids find this absolutely hilarious, as kids often do.  I’ve asked for the stapler but said sandwich.  I’ve commanded, “Go make your bed!” but when it came out, “Go make your band-aid!” it threw kids on the floor holding their bellies in loud guffaws. 

My thoughtful children have moved my disability to a new level of gaming….. they hear the word the makes no sense, and it’s a contest to see who can come up with the right word first.  I love the competitive spirit!

That Magic Moment

July 26, 2010

When my son started homeschooling at five-years-old, with me as his highly qualified and trained teacher, I came to the realization that all kids are not created equal.  Some are special.  Some are wild.  Some are funny.  Some are charming.  Some aren’t ready for school even if they are five-years-old.  I’m quite the determined individual and figured that I would do just fine teaching the children God gave me.  After several months of working on the letter F…. without any retention or even slight recognition… I realized my son was not ready to read (or name letters.)  Just for curiosity’s sake, I counted in my daily planner the number of days I had shown him the letter F.  It was 62.  It was like the letter F was new every morning…. just like God’s mercy.  Not good if your goal is reading before grade eight. 

We took a year off from trying to name the letter F.  It was a fun year of frivolity and favorite games.  We played football and frisbee and had foot races.  Then when my son was seven, I showed him this funny squiggly mark with two lines and told him that it was the letter F.  He said, “F”.  It made my heart glad.  The next day…. without me telling him… he pointed and said “F”.  :o)  See!  My teaching certificate was working its wonders.  That year he slowly learned the sounds the letters make…. uncompromisingly slowly.  But reading the letters when they were all lined up was foreign to him.  I diligently pressed on.  We sounded out every Bob book written.  I even made sight word flashcards with neatly formed letters….. but retention was out of our grasp.

When my son was nine, my husband was injured and had four months off work while his Achille’s Tendon healed inside a large black boot.  We took advantage of the time off and travelled the Western USA and visited 18 National Parks.  Since it was January through April, we did take our math books along with us in the van and worked our numbers on cookie sheets while we travelled.  Carschool!  I read aloud to the children and we listened to many books on tape: Rascal, Misty of Chincoteague, and The Twits.  Great pieces of literature that held our interest and kept us spellbound for hours.  But we did not do reading, or phonics or sight-word flashcards.  I needed a break too for goodness sake. 

We arrived home from that trip and to my surprise, delight and utter joy, my nine-year-old son could read.  Maybe he hit his head on a stalactite in New Mexico…. frankly, I don’t know what happened, nor do I care.  But something clicked, he could read… and it had nothing to do with me or my outstanding teaching ability.  I wondered how many hours I wasted on the letter F.

So my advice to homeschooling mothers with non-readers is this: hike into some caves, drive through some trees, fish in streams, count cacti arms, watch sage brush blow through fort ruins and climb a few ladders to cave dwellings.  It worked for me and my son.