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.”

 

 

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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.

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 – # 19 – How did the online part of Family Academy Online and Unlocking Learning Potential begin?

Online Student

Prior to 2004, the Jiles family lived in Olympia, Washington. They drove to Lakewood, Washington to attend Academy Northwest classes at our learning center. Then the dad’s work took them to Georgia. There they met the Robinson family.  I worked with the Jiles family and Tim Robinson. Later the Jiles moved to Spokane and the Robinson family moved to Texas. I continued to work with them via long distance and these students graduated.  Also around that time, Ariel from New Jersey worked with me and graduated early from ANW.  She has gone on for graduate work. I never met Tim and Ariel in person. Our use of the internet and the phone was problematic, but we were able to get the job done. Further, my learning center students in Lakewood posted assignments and responded in a closed Yahoo group.

Much has happened since that time. For one thing, we access virtually (no pun intended) all of our students online. Thankfully, our access to the internet is exceptional by comparison.  Video conferencing provides a great video and audio experience with minimal problems most of the time.  We can access many of these services for free or at least a minimal charge.  Some do cost more. For that reason, our students can access one or more of the following as appropriate: http://www.SpellingCity.com, Scientific Learning’s Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant, www.hearbuilder.com, Structure of Intellect assessments, and G-Suite for Education.  I would rate simultaneous correction of writing assignments on Google Drive as my newest favorite tool.

Personal Reflections – 2017 # 18 – How did we get to know homeschooling parents?

 

WHO Convention 2000 and 2013

Through the years we had booths at the different homeschool conventions, most often the Washington Homeschool Organization’s convention which basically happened in our back yard. We went to others in the Puget Sound Area, as well as one time in Portland and one time in Spokane.  As our work developed to what it is now, we have operated as: Master Enterprises Learning Center and Amazing Grace Christian Literature, Center for Neuro Development and finally Unlocking Learning Potential.  During this time we have been affiliated with Family Academy along with its affiliate school, Academy Northwest.  We also have helped in the development of Family Academy Online. Further, we are affiliated with the International Christian Association of Neurodevelopmentalists. While living in Western Washington, we sold Christian books, homeschooling curriculum and neurodevelopmental supplies as well as providing services to homeschooling families. Now, in Oklahoma, we work with students online and only sell a few physical products. We are building our digital product line – e-books:

https://www.unlockinglearningpotential.net/maggie-s-e-books

Personal Reflections – 2017 – 17 – Who Controls Our Time on This Earth?

Patty Garrett - 1960-2017

“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” Psalm 116:15

Often when a younger person dies, we hear comments like, “She died before her time.” From our perspective it may seem true, but from God’s point of view, NO ONE dies before his or her time. This week our family gathered to say, “See you later,” to Patty Garrett.  To be clear I must call her a sister-in-law, but she has been a part of our family for nearly 35 years so “Sister” seems more appropriate, both in family terms and in the Body of Christ.

Both the time of our birth and the time of our death remains in the hands of Our Sovereign God. On March 15 our church family welcomed a new member to our family. We rejoiced (and continue to) with the young Mom and Dad and first time grandparents, aunts and uncles!

On March 17, I received a call from my older sister who at age 70 is our 92 year old mom’s caregiver.  Beginning the call she said she had bad news.  Even though Patty (almost 57) had battled breast cancer years ago and for several months had been receiving chemo for its return as Stage 4, my thoughts did not go to her. My thoughts went to older members of my family. On March 20, Ronnie and I traveled to Wichita to visit Patty in the hospital. They had begun radiation treatments.  While the cancer had metastasized to the brain and paralyzed her left side, she still smiled!  Patty’s doctor had been out of town so they didn’t consult with him until Tuesday.  At that point, they learned that neither chemo nor radiation would help. On Wednesday, they transported her home and set up hospice. Many family members from all over visited Patty during those last days of her life on this earth. Medical professionals can only guess as to how long a person will survive. Patty’s hospice nurse told the family that it could be hours or days. Early on April 1, Patty breathed her last breath. Untypical of Patty, she left an unsmiling shell that no longer served her as she is now in the gracious presence of our Sovereign Lord and Savior.  We rejoice with her, but will miss her much. We gathered in Dodge City on April 5 to celebrate the life God gave her.  Though Patty is now out of our sight, she will always be in our hearts and mind until such a time as we join her in Glory!! We pray for her immediate family as they seek to find their new normal without Patty. Much of Patty remains in the home she maintained. One wall decoration says, “God Is Good All of the Time.” We pray for members of the extended family who do not trust Our Sovereign Lord.

Thankful, that we now live close enough to make these trips.

Personal Reflection 2017 – 16 -Another Graduation – Achievements Recognized

During Academy Northwest graduations, graduates give speeches and perform musically. This year, one of our students played the harp. Overall, ANW graduates do well academically and go on to college having earned scholarships. In our learning center we offered a customized program depending on the needs of the students. Many have gone on to earn undergraduate and some graduate degrees.  Some go into to trade school or join the work force.  Education is not one size fits all. We enjoy hearing the Grad bios as they stand on the top, center step learning about the graduates from other learning centers. Hearing of their hopes and dreams encourages to keep working with these students. I love to to see their families grow on Facebook even though we live far from most of them.

Personal Reflections – 2017 # 15 – What about learning World Languages?

Today, homeschoolers have many opportunities to learn a world language.  First, a number of excellent curricula exist and online help abounds. While that may not have been true when homeschooling began, it certainly is true now.  Many combine a great curriculum with conversational in person or online. Second, many homeschool co-ops and private extension schools such as www.academynorthwest.org provide site-based world language classes. After living in Spain for 17 years, teaching Spanish at Heritage Christian School for two years and then offering site-based classes to homeschoolers it only made sense to expand that to our online services. Http://maggiedail.wixsite.com/spanishanw Photos represent early Spanish classes. Website shows how we offer Spanish classes today. Thirdly, a homeschool high school can study their world language at a community college.

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 – 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.