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

Rounding Cover (496x640)

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 

 

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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

 

 

3 Ways to Help Students Achieve Success in Reading and Language

reading

Do you wonder why your student struggles with reading? I have spent much of my forty years of teach searching for ways to help student learn. Teaching reading has consumed most of those efforts. As you probably realize, many of our students today are missing developmental pieces and cognitive skills.

I have found that children are so very different and learning challenges do not always respond to the same interventions. However, educators across the country help students achieve success in reading and language using two Scientific Learning programs: Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant

These programs provide us with 3 ways to help our students:

  1. Build students’ cognitive skills. Cognitive (learning) skills addressed by Fast ForWord products:  memory, attention, processing rate and sequencing  Reading Skills addressed: phonological & phonemic (sound) awareness, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, decoding (sound out words), working memory (remembering long enough to do something with), syntax and grammar (structure of our language)

2. Prepare students’ brains to hear English. Once we fill in the missing pieces of development in the brain, a child can read and use the English language.

3.      Have students practice reading aloud, with support. Finally, we can provide opportunity for the children to read aloud – to other people and with Reading Assistant to the computer which provides timely correction.

You can read a blogger / inservice provider’s experience:  3 Ways to Help Struggling Readers and English Language Learners http://inservice.ascd.org/3-ways-to-help-struggling-readers-and-english-language-learners/

Over 250 studies show that Fast ForWord and Reading Assistance provides all of this for children across the country. www.scientificlearning.com/results

To learn how more about Fast ForWord  / Reading Assistant and how we use it with our students watch this video:  https://youtu.be/5BmNPJ9KdSo   Be sure and watch to the end for the special offers.

Personal Reflections – 2017 # 20 – What have our graduates done beyond high school?

Many of our graduates have gone to college or have gone into a trade. We will feature Jered today. While in high school we attended his Eagle Scout celebration. During high school he wrote a novel (Learn to Write the Novel Way) for class: Guns at Aparri. At one point, he stated that he had received an “atta boy” for his writing skills in a report for work.

After high school, he earned a degree in criminal justice and served in the U.S. Army Reserves.  Since then he has worked for the Department of Homeland Security.  Thank you, Jered for your service to our country.

Personal Reflections – 2017 – 14 – How did “Home School / Small School” K-6 work?

For a time we had a small school in our home using the Charlotte Mason approach with elements of classical education. Part of that time, we had an unlikely “class” of almost full time instruction. Our next door neighbor’s nephew lived with them while his father drove a truck for a living. Andrew was in Kindergarten. We had another student in the 6th grade – Drew. Other students formed part of our Charlotte Mason home school learning center. Many in that group grew up with us and later graduated from Academy Northwest. Once that happened, possibly because of a downturn in the economy, our groups were in middle and high school. Those were enjoyable days.

Personal Reflections 2017 – 13 – How did we learn about the Oregon Trail and Lewis and Clark?

lewis-and-clark-trip

 

Over the years we did a number of field trips that helped us understand the Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clark’s Journey of Discovery and other Pacific Northwest History highlights.  On one occasion we went to Oregon to see The Oregon Trail museum and Fort Clatsop. Further, on another occasion we stayed overnight at the Pioneer Farm closer to home. Each of these occasions provided time to bond with our families and, of course, to learn about our past. We can learn much by understanding how our home developed.

Personal Reflections 2017 – How did Academy Northwest look after 10 years of having its own graduation ceremony?

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Graduation, 2006 – Academy Northwest’s graduation program tells the story. All over Western Washington we have “learning centers” operated by Teacher Consultants. Our title, Teacher Consultants includes two of our functions. We teach classes to our students and we consult with their parents. Our model forms a triangle; each part has responsibilities and benefits.  Visit our website to see the “Family Academy Way” which illustrates how our affiliate school, Academy Northwest, operates.

The Family Academy Way

Here is an excerpt from that page:

The Family Academy Way includes, but is not limited to:

  • Learning within meaningful relationships
  • Accountability
  • Individualized learning plans
  • Professional guidance
  • Documentation of completed work (transcripts)
  • High standards (raising the bar)
  • Personalized help
  • Academic and personal excellence
  • Reinforcement of family values

 

Personal Reflections -2017 – 10 – What part do field trips and libraries play in homeschooling?

library-conservatory

If you ask the students, I would venture to say that field trips played a big part in their learning. Over the years we often visited the Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum and then we would go across the street to see the Botanical Conservatory. The Karpeles had rotating exhibits on many topics – always interesting and sometimes they fit right in with what we were studying. Then a stop to see exotic plants at the W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Wright’s Park in Tacoma topped off the day.

While our students needed to visit the public library for much of their research we did provide them with a lending library that grew over the years. When we moved to Oklahoma, much of our library found a new home in Arrow Academic Center, another Academy Northwest learning center in Bothell.

Some of our activities included a group of students and other included one-on-one studies.

Personal Reflections – 2017 – 9 – What happens when Monet, Copernicus, Newton, Bunyan, Boyle and Mozart to come to visit?

copernicus-1998

Our students learned about different historical figures through reading biographies.  Also, they gained public speaking / acting skills. You probably notice that we had a broad range of ages, 7th – 12th, in our learning center during those years. It is great to know that biographies are available at different reading levels so each student could work on his own level and participate with the class.  Some students could have a low reading level, but still presented well in class.

Personal Reflections 2017 – 7 -How did we adjust as our learning center grew?

melc-and-office

After a year of using our remodeled garage as our learning center, Master Enterprises Learning Center moved into the living / dining room area.  Ronnie’s office moved into a “bedroom”.

Except for two short times in the future that is where the students met for classes.  Early on the remodeled garage was our living room, but after some time we actually lost our living room. That room was our bedroom for a while and finally Ronnie’s office. My office eventually moved into the largest “bedroom” as well, so you can see we were trying to make the most of the space we had.

After the first few years, our learning center grew to about 20 students. Some may have been taking just one class, such as Spanish or they may have been full time Academy Northwest students.