We have had quite a discussion from my post here, and Frankity asked what I meant by "going through the back door", when teaching our supposedly unteachable son. :)
I figured my answer was so long, I may as well make it a post. :)
I have to start with me. :)
I struggled with school. I was not the worst student, but it took great effort to do well, and reading was never for pleasure with me. I actually HATED reading and never could understand why anybody would want to. You see, I had horrible comprehension. I would read phonetically, and oral reading was quite good...But understanding what I read never connected. Therefore, studying a text book was awful. It took hours to complete homework assignments and studying for tests was just as hard.
I was frustrated beyond words.
When I was a child I checked "Little Women" out of the library several times, but never read it. I never read "Little House on the Prairie", even though I loved the ideas of the books. I could read them... I just couldn't comprehend them.
Fast forward NOT TOO FAR.... :)
I married at 18, and had my first son at 20.... So I was still a bit of a kid. Our second son came at 22, 3rd son at 23 and 4th son at 24..... I loved playing with them. And playing included a LOT of crawling.
I never crawled as a baby, I had always known this....but I never connected my not being able to comprehend with left brain right brain engagement. I didn't know about that yet. :)
What happened was I played with my boys and crawled all the time on the floor for about 5 years. LOL
About 3 years into crawling, all of the sudden, I had this insatiable desire to READ! Everything I read was fascinating to me and I couldn't get enough of it. I had never felt that way before.
I loved reading factual articles and scientific articles, especially medical things, since my son had so many issues.
What I found one day was a study on left brain right brain connection and the importance of crawling in regards to reading. The study took adults and had them crawl 20 minutes a day for several months and then gauged their reading improvement. All of them improved slightly....
I connected that since I was crawling probably 2 hours a day ( we loved crawl races) for several years, the pathways from left brain, right brain made connections that during that time everybody thought were unable to develop, because I was an adult.
Tim had learned to crawl correctly. I made sure of that. But his brain still had damaged areas. All I did was take him back to the beginning and encourage him. We purchased some OLDER materials that were used in the 1800's. (McGuffy's Readers)
I knew he was very oral, so we did a lot of oral learning. He would read a sentence and I would read a sentence.
I did not grade his work at all. No tests! He would stress out on this style of rote and scoring, and would shut down. He would not be able to get anything out of his head onto paper when stressed.
In a relaxed environment, I pushed him to make himself learn. He became VERY self disciplined and was so excited when reading came just 3 months after we began. He also covered 2 years of math in one summer.
He would write a paper and turn it in, thinking he had written something fabulous.... Every sentence, EVERY SENTENCE had maybe 2 or 3 words and everything else was missing. So we would sit down and go sentence by sentence...
"What did you think you wrote?" He would tell me and I would write it, then he would copy it.
We did this for a few years. Then, like magic, his brain started filling in the words.
On days where he would wake up and forget everything he ever learned in his life, and it happened several times a month.... we would go for a drive and do art work. This helped the right brain get the exercise it needed and reconnect with the left. By the time afternoon rolled around.... he was back to normal.
I also had him rewrite every lesson in every McGuffy Reader in his OWN words. They are designed in shorter lessons with numbered paragraphs. This built his vocabulary. I read Real books to him and he illustrated as I read. (all the boys did this)
And then, we would WATCH A MOVIE about a book we were GOING to read, so he could get the characters down, BEFORE reading.... and then read the book.
Many times in school they have the kids read the book and THEN watch the movie. For Tim, and Marc, they needed it to be the opposite.
For mathematics, we used Saxon, which is a repeat, repeat, repeat method, building on concepts. We also used Math U SEE blocks so he could visually see his math. It really helped him understand why larger numbers in fractions are actually smaller in value.
The only tests I gave him, were the state basic skills test when we started teaching at home. He was in the 3 percentile. When he took the 12th grade test, he scored in the 88 percentile.
Our back door, was to keep working both sides of his brain to cause them to connect. It was to stay away from testing, and use real life books, instead of all text books. It was to teach him orally, in as many subjects as possible, until his reading skills caught up. And it was to give him the confidence that HE HAD TO WORK HARDER THAN ANYBODY ELSE if he wanted to compete.
His HARD WORK AND PERSEVERANCE payed off. He literally studied from 6:30 a.m. until about 7:00 p.m. EVERY DAY.... and he was joyful about it. He was the first handicapped, homeschooler to attend the local college. They didn't quite know what to do with us, when I told them he needed to have extra time for tests, and he was going to college for CREDIT, like everybody else.
I was asked, "Where is his psychological report?" I went home and wrote a paper that said, "Tim is well adjusted. " I had it notorized and turned it back in, with a copy of the law that says, A home school is considered a Private School. I was the administrator. :) Boy was that lady mad! LOL
Tim took 7 years to graduate instead of 5. He went to Jr. College first, then University. He got a scholarship. Taking upper level teaching classes was very interesting for him, as he was a former special ed student. LOL
When he would tell them he couldn't read at 11, they were shocked.
I believe that all the left brain, right brain stimulation.... and the exercising one side and then the other helped him make the neural connections he needed to learn. He also worked HARD.
He tells his students now....(he teaches special ed) You can do it... You just have to work really hard!
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)