7 Ways to Identify a Reading Problem 

 

Does your child have trouble

1. recognizing words accurately?
2. reading a sentence smoothly?
3. spelling?
4. decoding words?
5. with below average language skills?
6. maintaining focus during reading time.

7. with a reading level is far below that of his overall intelligence.

(These are Learning Ally’s criteria for “dyslexia.” 1 in 5 of America’s school children has dyslexia. Hidden in Plain Sight white paper)

Generally, people go for a diagnosis of a learning problem. In a school setting, this leads to services. However, in a homeschool setting, having a diagnosis will not affect how much time you spend helping your child. Those who exhibit these behaviors will probably have:

1. A mixed dominance
2. Low auditory processing
3. Maybe other difficulties

At Unlocking Learning Potential, we assess children; review information parents give us, design an Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plan and provide Brain Training sessions (support for child and parent). Our INPs help stimulate the brain to establish one-side dominance, increase auditory processing and deal with other areas. Plus we offer other services to provide help for struggling readers /learners, including Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant Plus. Once these areas have been resolved a diagnosis may no longer apply.

Schedule a FREE 30-minute Consultation:  mdail@familyacademy.org

Receive info regarding Scientific Learning’s programs: mdail@familyacademy.org

Visit our website for more information: www.unlockinglearningpotential.net

 

reading

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Recordkeeping for Washington State Homeschoolers

 

 

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By Maggie Dail, M.A.

I have often asked graduates of Able to Teach, a state-approved parent-qualifying course for those wanting to teach their own children in Washington, “Based on your understanding of the homeschool law, what records do you plan on keeping?”

Generally, I get parts or all of the following:

1. Copy of Declaration of Intent

2. Copy of the Able to Teach certificate

3. Planner / portfolio that reflect the time spent on the 11 subjects (K-8) or graduation requirements (9-12).

4. Annual Assessments

Since the only document that the law requires you to submit is the Declaration of Intent one might ask, “Why keep records at all?” Here are my answers:

1. First, and most importantly for yourself:

a. To help you plan and assess how you are doing.

b. To help you on one of those “bad days”- when you or someone else is “beating you up”- (you know the kind that every parent has whether you are homeschooling or not).

2. Second, it is always better to have records if any one of the following occasions mentioned below occurs. Do not let this scare you, because if you are ready you will have the records to show the appropriate authorities (not just anyone who comes to your door). http://www.hslda.org

a. CPS – Even if a well-meaning neighbor makes a call with erroneous information, CPS is required to investigate. If you have records it will more than likely be a brief investigation.

b. Custody battles – Sadly, in my experience, this is the most frequent request for records.

c. Homeschool child is in trouble with the law.

3. Transferring to a school. It is always the receiving school that decides the requirements for enrollment.

a. Elementary /Middle School – usually children are placed according to age, but they may want records.

b. High School – Credits and graduation requirements now matter. (State Approved Private Extension programs like Academy Northwest, which is also accredited, help with transcripts, diplomas and so much more.)

c. College Entrance – varies with college – survey your desired colleges as soon as possible. Again, http://www.academynorthwest.net will help.

I also encourage parents to consider having a conversation with their children about their “grade level and school.” While Washington State’s truancy laws (Becca Laws) do not target homeschoolers, occasionally they might be mistaken as truants. Older children may be out of their home during school hours if they are part of homeschool activities or even work. More than likely any one questioning them will be satisfied with “I homeschool” at the least or “here is a copy of my declaration of intent” at the most.

Parents may want to talk with their children to be sure they understand that homeschooling is legal and a good choice for their family. Also, if the child is working at a different grade level for different subjects they may not know their grade. For the most part it doesn’t really matter, but if someone asks a child, “Where do you go to school?” or “What grade are you in?” they will be more confident if they know how to answer.

There is no one right way to keep records! You can keep what is most helpful to you and that reflects that you follow the homeschool law. Happy Homeschooling!

Maggie Dail has taught for over 40 years and worked with homeschoolers full time since 1994. She has been teaching Family Academy’s Able to Teach, parent qualifying class since 2003. http://www.familyacademy.org

New Story Coming Soon – Jumping the Hurdles – Jessi Learns Math

Horse by Eli-01_2 (1)

We are working on the final editing and artwork for our new release coming this summer!  Along with the story (Rounding the Bases – Chris Learns to Read) that is already in print, we are adding two new stories in this new e-book: Stories from Unlocking Learning Potential.  In Jumping the Hurdles – Jessi Learns Math, Jessica Marie Torres, a high school sophomore, recounts her life which centers on her love for horses and struggles with math through a homeschool assignment to write her story.

Unlocking Learning Potential Specializes in Learning

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Like, Structure of Intellect, we at Unlocking Learning Potential see the value in “patterning.” While we have recently added SOI to our toolbox, we have long recognized the work of Glenn Doman and Carl Delacato and use it with our clients.

Dr. Robert Meeker of Structure of Intellect wrote that there are three broad stages in human learning. This is what he said about the first, mostly ignored stage that prepares people for the other two:

Humans, unlike almost all other creatures, are slow in developing the capacity to learn appropriate to their environs.  Most creatures come into life pre-wired with almost all they need to survive and thrive — humans have a greater need, and a greater capacity to learn, but they are not completely pre-wired — they need to learn how to learn.

The first stage is so elementary that it was not even identified until the last half-century.  It is called “patterning”.  It occurs when babies first start to explore their environment by crawling and otherwise controlling their bodies in exploring the outside world.    This “motor learning” seems so natural, that it is commonly not considered “learning”, but for whatever reason, some children miss developing important aspects of this development, so they are restricted in benefiting from the more advanced aspects of learning capacity.

Once this problem was identified, Glenn Doman and Carl Delacato created a program of exercises to formally replace the “motor learning” that had been missed as infants.  It may seem strange for adolescents and adults to be coached in crawling and other infantile behaviors, but there is no other remedy for those who missed “patterning” naturally.”

(“IPP in the Panoply of Learning” by Dr. Robert Meeker)

Following a Brain Training Assessment (BTA) our Learning Specialist designs an Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plan (INP) for a client. As an individualized plan, this INP works to UNLOCK the LEARNING POTENTIAL of our client. One size does not fit all! We teach parents to do these activities with their children daily and support this process with two 30-minute sessions a week via video conferencing.

New Release: Stories from Unlocking Learning Potential —Coming this Summer!

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Back in 2006, this book was released as our first published book!

This story represents many of our clients who struggle with learning to read.

Chris, a middle schooler, shines on the baseball field and with his teammates but struggles with reading. His parents try to work with the teachers in his school but in the end realize they need to take a more personal approach. With the help of other homeschooling families and with a neurodevelopmentalist from ICAN, we read of  Rounding the Bases: Chris Learns to Read. This story presents the model used by most ICAN neurodevelopmentalists in working with their clients.  http://www.icando.org/

This and two new stories will be released this summer as an e-book available through Smashwords, Amazon and our website: www.unlockinglearningpotential.net 

 

Are Warnings Against RF Radiation Valid?

Brain-Tumor-Report-Cover-Image

 

Dr. Joseph Mercola recently addressed the issue of the dangers of Wireless Technology:

Is Wireless Technology Dooming a Generation to Ill Heath?

Included in his article is a 2016 video of ABC’s Wi-Fried?

While there are studies indicating an association between RF Radiation and Cancer, including Brain and Heart problems, many are not concerned because the studies in their minds have not be replicated.  One problem is that it takes more time for problems to arise. Surviving population in Japan after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki did not show ill effects of the radiation until 40 years later.

My phone states the following in the Legal/Health and Safety section of settings:

“This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer, birth defects, or other reproductive harm.”

In another part of this section, it says of the studies that do show an association that “these studies fail to be replicated.”  They go on to say that the following precautions should be taken:

1. Reduce exposure by reducing time.

2. Use speaker mode or a headset putting more distance between the body and the device.

While we cannot avoid all exposure here are some actions that we can take to protect ourselves and our children:

  1. Do not introduce this technology to infants and young children.
  2. Use the airplane mode as much as possible.
  3. Use wired technology when at all possible.
  4. Turn off router at night, locate it as far from the bedroom as possible.
  5. Use cell phones as far from the body as possible (speaker mode and hands-free devices).
  6. Eliminate the use of microwaves (toaster/convection ovens are a good alternative).
  7. Store devices in a Faraday bag.  http://www.faradaybag.com as much as possible.

 

Throughout the ABC presentation, they made many comparisons to how long it took for the ill effects of tobacco to be well-accepted.  Are we going down that same road with wireless technology?

 

 

 

 

Annual Assessments for Homeschoolers

CFND Pencils LogoBy Maggie Dail, Learning Specialist

 

Many homeschooling parents begin to think about the annual assessments for their children at this time of the year. In around 20 states these tests are required by their homeschool laws. Washington State is one of those and allows for two types – standardized and non-test assessments.

 

  • Standardized tests – While some are administered in online formats, they have traditionally been administered by having the student fill in the bubbles on an answer sheet. They are then normed and standardized meaning that they tell you how your child compares to a representative 99 others. Further, they are to be administered according to set rules and times.
  • Non-test Assessments – In the Washington State homeschool law these are not defined per se, but they are to be administered by a certified teacher currently working in the field of education.  Since the assessments are not defined, qualified test administrators use a variety of measures – some more subjective and others more objective.

 

Whether your state requires annual assessments or not, you can gain valuable information from these experiences. Other than “the homeschool law requires assessments” these may prompt you to have your children tested:

  • Assess a starting point in your homeschooling (given before you begin or early on).   Using the same instrument of assessment before and after provides comparable scores.
  • Assess whether the curriculum, learning styles or methods you are using are helping your child learn.
  • Provide preparation for your child to take college entrance tests in the future.
  • Provide objectives or ideas for study for the next year, semester or month.
  • Provides a “third party” assessment of the academic process
  • Identifies areas that the child may need some additional help.

 

Unlocking Learning Potential provides non-test assessments for homeschoolers in any state via video conferencing:

 

Non-Test Assessment – NTA (qualifies for WA State homeschoolers)

 

  • PIAT-R (Peabody Individual Achievement Test-Revised) Given orally – General Information, Reading Recognition, Reading Comprehension, Math, and Spelling.
  • Optional – evaluation of a one-page writing sample – corrected with criteria that you receive along with an instructional lesson for one area of concern.
  • Neurodevelopmental Screening (auditory and visual processing; dominance).
  • A brief consultation with parents.
  • NTA Report.
  • Fulfills requirement for annual homeschool assessment in Washington State.
  • Standard Price – $60.00
  • Optional: Writing Sample Assessment – $25.00
  • Optional: Learning Style Analysis – $25.00
  • Especially good for younger students and those who have a difficulty in taking tests.
  • Time: About 1 ½ hour for the student and time with the parent to discuss results and answer questions.

 

In addition, diagnostic assessments are available using KeyMath.

 

KeyMath-R serves as a supplement to the Brain Training Assessment or Non-Test Assessment or as a stand-alone diagnostic math test for pre-high school skills. Success for high school math depends on a good foundation.  Cost: $60.00 Time: About 1 ½ to 2 hours.

 

If especially interested in assessing math, but want this to be the annual assessment, spelling and reading can be added.

 

Should you suspect a learning challenge, the annual assessment could be turned into a:

 

Brain Training Assessment – BTA

 

Includes all of the Non-Test Assessment, plus with parent completed forms, the Learning Specialist designs an Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plan (list of activities to stimulate the brain to encourage development) to complete at home with our support.  Cost: $150

 

Depending on the results of the NTA or the BTA and the goals of the parents, families may be offered access to one or more of our professional accounts with Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord or Reading Assistant, HearBuilder and Sensory Enrichment Therapy.  Also, parents may choose to add Brain Training as ongoing support provided via video conferencing.

 

Another option for determining abilities that need to be developed Unlocking Learning Potential provides Structure of Intellect online assessment, training modules, and support.

 

Structure of Intellect Assessment (SOI)

 

Dr. J.P. Guilford designed an assessment that decreased the attrition rate of dropouts out of pilots during WWII. Drs.  Mary and Robert Meeker further developed this model of assessing and training different learning abilities.

 

Assessment Cost: $150.00

Training Materials and Support: $100.00

 

For more information regarding our services:

 

https://www.unlockinglearningpotential.net/services-1

 

We are currently scheduling through the end of June.

Annual Assessments for Homeschoolers -Maggie Dail, Learning Specialist

 

Important Things Tests Can't Measure

Many homeschooling parents begin to think about the annual assessments for their children at this time of the year. In around 20 states these tests are required by their homeschool laws. Washington State is one of those and allows for two types – standardized and non-test assessments.

  • Standardized tests – While some are administered in online formats, they have traditionally been administered by having the student fill in the bubbles on an answer sheet. They are then normed and standardized meaning that they tell you how your child compares to a representative 99 others. Further, they are to be administered according to set rules and times.
  • Non-test Assessments – In the Washington State homeschool law these are not defined per se, but they are to be administered by a certified teacher currently working in the field of education.  Since the assessments are not defined, qualified test administrators use a variety of measures – some more subjective and others more objective.

Whether your state requires annual assessments or not, you can gain valuable information from these experiences. Other than “the homeschool law requires assessments” these may prompt you to have your children tested:

  • Assess a starting point in your homeschooling (given before you begin or early on).  Using the same instrument of assessment before and after provides comparable scores.
  • Assess whether the curriculum, learning styles or methods you are using are helping your child learn.
  • Provide preparation for your child to take college entrance tests in the future.
  • Provide objectives or ideas for study for the next year, semester or month.
  • Provides a “third party” assessment of academic process
  • Identifies areas that the child may need some additional help.

Unlocking Learning Potential provides non-test assessments for homeschoolers in any state via video conferencing:

Non-Test Assessment – NTA (qualifies for WA State homeschoolers)

  • PIAT-R (Peabody Individual Achievement Test-Revised) Given orally – General Information, Reading Recognition, Reading Comprehension, Math, and Spelling.
  • Optional – evaluation of a one-page writing sample – corrected with criteria that you receive along with an instructional lesson for one area of concern.
  • Neurodevelopmental Screening (auditory and visual processing; dominance).
  • Brief consultation with parents.
  • NTA Report
  • Especially good for younger students and those who have a difficulty in taking tests.
  • Fulfills requirement for annual homeschool assessment in Washington State.
  • Standard Price – $60.00
  • Optional: Writing Sample Assessment – $25.00
  • Optional: Learning Style Analysis – $25.00
  • Time: About 1 ½ hour for the student plus time with the parent to discuss results and answer questions.

In addition, diagnostic assessments are available using KeyMath.

KeyMath-R serves as a supplement to the Brain Training Assessment or Non-Test Assessment or as a stand-alone diagnostic math test for pre-high school skills. Success for high school math depends on a good foundation.  Cost: $60.00  Time: About 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Should you suspect a learning challenge, the annual assessment could be turned into a:

Brain Training Assessment – BTA

Includes all of the Non-Test Assessment, plus with parent completed forms, the Learning Specialist designs an Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plan (list of activities to stimulate the brain to encourage development) to complete at home with our support. Cost: $150

Depending on the results of the NTA or the BTA and the goals of the parents, families may be offered access to one or more of our professional accounts with SpellingCity, HearBuilder, and Sensory Enrichment Therapy.  Also, parents may choose to add Brain Training as ongoing support provided via video conferencing.

Another option for determining abilities that need to be developed Unlocking Learning Potential provides Structure of Intellect online assessment, training modules, and support.

Structure of Intellect Assessment (SOI)

Dr. J.P. Guilford designed an assessment that decreased the attrition rate of dropouts out of pilots during WWII. Drs.  Mary and Robert Meeker further developed this model of assessing and training different learning abilities.

Assessment Cost: $150.00

Training Materials and Support: $100.00

For more information regarding our services:

https://www.unlockinglearningpotential.net/services-1

 

 

Happy New Year from Unlocking Learning Potential / Family Academy Online!

 

Ronnie & Maggie 2016

Along with the rest of the world, we say goodbye to 2017.  Our year brought us many good times and some surprises.

  • In March we took a quick trip to Kansas City with our Pastor and his wife. The highlight was visiting the Spurgeon Library. On Facebook, I shared Spurgeon’s Morning devotionals each day for 365 days!
  • In July we traveled over 3,000 miles to Kentucky for Ronnie’s Smedley family reunion. On the way, we stopped in St. Louis to see a former fellow teacher from ECA  in Madrid, Spain. Afterwards, we visited the Ark Encounter in northern Kentucky. From there we traveled west to Colorado for my 50th high school reunion and my family reunion.
  • We arrived home after that exhausting 13-day trip with the plan on breaking up our family trips and to try and keep them shorter.
  • Also, we rescheduled a trip to Branson (a get-away) from November to January. We are enjoying this COLD get-away right now – staying warm.
  • In May I had taken Ronnie to the ER with shortness of breath. He began a treatment for chronic asthma. So when he had problems that could have been a reaction to that treatment on August 24, we called the pulmonologist who said to continue the treatment and if it got worse to seek emergency care.  At 11:30 p.m. Ronnie had had enough and for the first time ever asked me to call 911.  It is a good thing because he was experiencing a heart attack.  Early on August 25th,  he had an angioplasty where they removed a blood clot and inserted two stents in the same artery.  On the third day, he was released from the hospital.
  • We are researching his new reality and supplementing standard medical care with healthy choices.
  • During the summer our church transitioned from our Pastor of 17 years to another one of our elders becoming Pastor. In his first week as Pastor, he preached the funeral of an infant son born to a young family in our church. On the way to the ER at the end of that first month, our Pastor was wondering if he was about to preach at Ronnie’s funeral. Of course, that could have happened, but God was pleased to continue Ronnie’s life for which I am truly grateful.
  • At the end of September, our new Pastor learned that he had prostate cancer that had metastasized to all of his bones.  Hormonal treatment and surgery done immediately did much to relieve initial cancer. He will begin chemotherapy on January 15. Young men in our church are taking on more responsibilities and preparing to preach on those Sundays when our Pastor is unable to preach.  Prayers for Pastor Trace Foote would be greatly appreciated.
  • Our life has changed to include a series of medical appointments – follow-ups with various specialists and some more routine appointments for me. We have been participating in cardiac-rehab 2-3 times a week as he is allowed to bring a friend for free! This, of course, is good for both of us. I also have joined the “CPAP” club which Ronnie has been a part of for many years. This trip was our first to have two CPAPs and Blood Pressure & Blood sugar monitoring.
  • I am thankful to work from home so that I can continue to serve homeschooling families and, at the same time, be available to help Ronnie as needed.
  • Early in December, I realized that people were not receiving e-mails from me. Troubleshooting on our own, frustrating help from virtual ‘customer-service’ and help from one of our Pastor’s sons, we believe that the problem has been resolved.  So if you have sent e-mails to me and have not received a response, please try again. I have resent some, but since I do not know when the problem started, I do not know if I took care of everyone. STOP the press, since the initial writing of this, I have discovered that some e-mails are still not getting through to Outlook so I will continue to keep an eye on the FA and ANW e-mails from the original source until a permanent solution can be found.
  • Aside from the technical problem discussed above – we have all recently gone through a very busy time. At this time of year, you may be ready for a “new start” for your Individualized Neurodevelopmental Plan, your Sensory Enrichment Therapy, your Structure of Intellect training modules or your homeschooling in general.  Also, you may be starting to think about annual homeschool assessments, Brain Training Assessments or Structure of Intellects assessments.  Upon my return to our regular schedule – the week of January 8 – I will be available for our regular classes and to give you the support you need for any of our services. If you are new, remember that I offer a free 30-minute consultation via video conferencing to help you sort it all out.
  • We have begun to use Facebook as a means to provide ongoing support for our families. We have two pages and a group. If we are already friends with me on Facebook but not a part of our support pages and group, let me know so I can add you.  If we are not Facebook friends but you would like to be a part of this support system please friend me and ask for me to add you:   https://www.facebook.com/maggie.dail.3
  • Contact me at mdail@familyacademy.org or mdail@academynorthwest.net to schedule a time or to ask questions.
  • If you are working with Laura Barnes, our Brain Trainer, please contact her at lauraannbarnes@gmail.com .

Psalm 113:1-3 “Praise the Lord!

Praise, O servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord!
Blessed be the name of the Lord
From this time forth and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its going down
The Lord’s name is to be praised.”

 

 

Reviewing Two Childhood Lessons – Memory and Rewards

1967 - 2016

1967 and 2016

By Maggie Dail

Some Background

In third grade, I failed penmanship and arithmetic. Apparently, the teacher told us that I had passed third grade by the skin of my teeth. Looking over my report cards reveals comments such as, “If Margaret would try she would get better grades.” In seventh grade at the DOD school in Madrid, Spain I was given the choice of moving to class D and get a “C” on my report card or stay in class C and get a “D”. Given my father’s value of high grades, I chose Class D. All of this was before 1975 when Special Education became a legislated part of the public school system. Since my perceptions of these memories indicate that I was trying, I likely would receive special education services if I were in school today.

At church, during high school, I was encouraged to memorize Scriptures to improve academics. So, I began to memorize long passages of Scripture, reciting them at church and at church camps. Also, during high school, my dad offered me $1.00 per “A” I earned on my report card. By the time I was a senior, I was on the High Honor Roll with all “A’s”. My first year of college was a challenge, getting a “D” at mid-term in Psychology. However, by my senior year, I was again able to get all “A’s”. I believe I was still probably working harder for those “A’s” than other students, but I was achieving better grades. Decades later, I want to review these lessons in light of what I have learned about how we learn.

Lesson #1: Memorizing Scriptures Develops Cognitive Skill

Yes, the old adage, “use it or lose it” applies here. When you exercise your brain it develops. Scientific Learning’s motto, “Fit Brains Work Better” reveals how this principle works. According to the neurodevelopmental approach, “Duration, Frequency, and Intensity” present three important ideas. Short, frequent, focused review of whatever is to be learned, locks into one’s brain. Today, I tell my students to put spelling words, vocabulary words, math facts or formulas, memory verses on cards. If they go through these cards between subjects, several times a day, they will learn it. Some need to review longer to get the desired results, but they will learn. Sometimes parents must give the input using these cards. Do all of my students follow my advice? No, I am afraid that it is a hard sell, but I am not going to quit telling them to do it. While this works for anything, when one memorizes Scripture you get an added benefit: Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Lesson #2 – External Rewards Encourage Learning

As a teacher, I would always prefer that students have internal motivation to learn – “for the love of learning.” It would be great for students to be diligent in their studies in order to please God. We can continue to pray and trust God for this. It happens sometimes, but often external rewards are necessary. It may be something as simple as, “Great job!” or a high five or a sticker on a chart. Twenty-first-century students would normally not be motivated by $1.00 per “A” on a report card as I was in the 60s. While a monetary reward may not be the best, it certainly works on the job for adults.

After reviewing these childhood lessons, I see that I need to remember to apply these in my life even today as I continue to learn.

Maggie Dail (Learning Specialist) operates Unlocking Learning Potential from her home in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Maggie’s husband, Ronnie (Manager) and Laura Barnes (Brain Trainer) round out the team. ULP offers online services to homeschooling families. Maggie earned an M.A.in Special Education from Adams State University in 1989 and certification with the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists in 2007.

http://www.unlockinglearningpotential.net

Check out this video to see how we can help.