From the HSLDA E-lert Service:


1/10/2013 4:13:14 PM
Home School Legal Defense Association
Homeschooling A Struggling Learner--Tips from an Occupational Therapist: Part II

HSLDA's Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner Newsletter
January 2013--Top Ten Homeschooling Lessons
from an Occupational Therapist: Part II

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Top Ten Homeschooling Lessons from an Occupational Therapist: Part II

By Jean A. Wetherilt
Guest Writer

Last month, Pediatric Occupational Therapist Jean Wetherilt shared
five of the top ten lessons she's learned as a homeschooling mom.
They were...

1. Take advantage of opportunities to build the foundations for
academic learning.
2. Use hands-on learning whenever possible.
3. Spend time on training children to be independent in life skills.
4. Allow room and flexibility for the kinesthetic learner.
5. For those who need a sensory diet (actually most of us!), be
intentional about adding individualized activities to the daily

Today, she rounds out the list with these wonderful tips.

6. Allow more time for recess.

A study published in a recent issue of the "Journal of Pediatrics" and
referenced in the following summary from an article in "Science Daily"
(Oct. 16, 2012) shows that kids with ADHD can better drown out
distractions and focus on a task after a exercising. Scientists say
such "inhibitory control" is the main challenge faced by people with
the disorder.

In the study, 40 children ages 8 to 10, half of whom had ADHD, were
asked to spend 20 minutes either walking briskly on a treadmill or
reading while seated. The children then took a brief reading
comprehension and math exam similar to longer standardized tests. They
also played a simple computer game in which they had to ignore visual
stimuli to quickly determine which direction a cartoon fish was

The results showed all of the children performed better on both tests
after exercising. In the computer game, those with ADHD also were
better able to slow down after making an error to avoid repeat
mistakes -- a particular challenge for those with the disorder.

7. Take time to work on skills necessary for building written
communication, including handwriting and typing/keyboarding.

It has been my experience that time spent on these important skills in
formal schools has been drastically reduced. Teachers are frequently
not allowed to train their students in correct letter formation or to
allow time for practice. In today's technological world it is
occasionally assumed that children learn typing skills elsewhere.
Handwriting continues to be a necessary skill in all cultures.

8. Provide a learning environment individually designed for the
student including furniture that fits and curriculum chosen to match a
child's learning style.

This means more than providing and adapting the appropriate learning
environment. Specific lessons regarding ergonomics such as proper
posture and timed breaks from the computer can also be taught.

9. Seek out opportunities for multi-generational teachers and real
life social and spiritual development.

During several of the years that we homeschooled our children, we were
faced with the reality of my mother's Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
disease. Our children went to doctor's appointments, sat in hospital
rooms and became friends with the staff and residents of assisted
living facilities and nursing homes. I believe, however hard these
times may have been, it allowed them to build character qualities that
could only be "caught" and not "taught."

10. Allow children unstructured play time.

Play is still the primary occupation of children and should never be
pushed out of a child's daily routine because of a lack of time or
structured extra-curricular activities and a long school day.

It is a child's "job" or "occupation" to play to develop physical
coordination, emotional maturity, social skills to interact with other
children, and self-confidence to try new experiences and explore new
environments. ( )


The Big What Now Book of Learning Styles: A Fresh and Demystifying
Approach by Carol Barnier

Life Skills for Kids: Equipping Your Child for the Real World by
Christine M. Field

Luke's Life List (Individual Education Planner); and Luke's Academics
List by Joyce Herzog

Talkers, Watchers and Doers by Cheri Fuller
The Way They Learn by Cynthia Tobias

* Walks on The Wildside, Book One in a Series on Theraparent: A Guide
for Creatively Promoting Motor skills in Children by Jean A Wetherilt,

Jean Wetherilt is a pediatric occupational therapist specializing in
the treatment of developmental delays, learning disabilities, autism
spectrum disorders and sensory processing disorders. She is founder
and owner of PossAbilities, a therapy clinic in Merriam, KS. In
addition to her private practice, she is the special needs coordinator
for Midwest Parent Educators. Jean and her husband of 29 years have
two children (homeschool and college graduates).

Contact Jean at:
-> Extreme makeovers are for extreme circumstances...

Most homeschools don't need an extreme makeover, but there is
something to be said for attention to detail and recognition of
accomplishments. Watch the media and you'll soon see that not
everyone wants home educators and homeschooling to look good.
HSLDA works hard to shed light on the good work of home educators
so it's obvious that we don't need someone "making-over" our
homeschools. Join HSLDA and help us show the world that we're fine
as we are . . . thank you!

More reasons to join HSLDA...

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