4th Grade Update

So, what have we been doing this past year? What are we now doing? Well, we realized that Zelie CAN read, it is just hard to read a lot of words at a time. And Zelie CAN write, but she is not very fast and doesn’t really feel like writing a whole page as once. I am using Math-U-See, which is great for her for math. In looking at what schools do for those with dyslexia in these middle grades, it seems like those kids are forced to just muddle through.
Why would we make her do that?! Her school until Christmas is to read the Dork Diaries (as many books as she can – designed to be easy to read!) and to create as many books as she can. No, writing two paragraphs is tough, but if there is only one or two sentences per page, she can do it! With math and our co-op classes, she is done. The rest of her schooling is the school of the world around her. She’ll have to get super disciplined by high school, but why ruin this time for her? She has a view of the world that is fluid and very different from mine, but I love it and love to watch her bloom every day as much as she can!
So, that’s our update. No more worrying about how she measures up for now. Just trusting her love for life to lead us forward!

A new approach

After two and a half years with LAVCA and K12, we have decided (for many reasons) to stop and go back to our more traditional homeschooling approach. So, we have been pulling out other homeschool material again and Zelie picked up Emma Serl’s Primary Language Lessons. This little grammar primer happens to be one of my favorites, but neither of my older kids had ever really gotten into it.
Zelie not only picked it up, but began to read it! I think because of it’s little size and short lessons, it was not intimidating to her at all! She has begun to do one lesson per day completely on her own! I know that she is not only learning grammar and practicing her reading, but she is also building confidence! Love it! Thank you 1910 primers! 🙂

Taking Notes!

So, Zelie, who just turned 8 now, has started to take notes! Totally on her own! She has a notebook and as she listens to her classes (which are mostly online), she writes down certain words. Then, when I am doing her workbook pages with her, she will look up words in her notebook. I am not 100% sure how she decides which words to write down – or even how she knows which page she wrote it on (because the words are in all directions on all pages). It looks very random, but clearly it works for her!
It is exciting that even though she is only eight, she is already figuring out what methods of studying work for her!
(And since she does not really have dysgraphia, her words are all legible – except some letters are turned around sometimes – but she can still read it fine.)
So much better than the beginning of the year!!!
Praise God!!! 🙂

More Piano

So, today’s piano lesson was interesting. First, Zelie told me that she can’t play, so I had to sit in with her. Then, her piano teacher and I noticed that as quickly as she could, she memorized the piece and then played from memory – kind of the way she reads (she tries to memorize the word as soon as possible).
I know that piano is not the easiest for those with dyslexia, but we are going to keep trying until the end of the year, at least. I told her that she could ask her Nana to teach her guitar, as well, and maybe we’ll switch at the end of the year.
I did notice that it is just like reading where, by the end of the half hour lesson, she is exhausted and ready for a nap (which she is now taking).
Maybe I’m wrong (please tell me if I am!) but it seems that practicing reading something like music and recalling it can help her in her reading skills (or at least help her figure out what tricks she needs sooner rather than later). However, I am open to input – what do you think?

Piano for dyslexics?!

So, I’ve been told that guitar is a much easier instrument for someone with dyslexia to learn to play, but we don’t have a guitar. We have a piano and all of our kids take piano lessons. So that means that Zelie must take piano lessons, too!
The first problem we encountered was curving her hands – well, that’s not dyslexia-related – whew!
However, today her piano teacher and she told me that she was having difficulty remembering which notes were where and which fingers were suppose to play them. So, we decided, “Zelie can do anything anyone else can do – only the process may be different!”
So, Zelie and I decided to mark her knuckles with the note letters. At first, we tried her nails (we had already done this with her toes – she only paints her right toenails so that she knows which foot she is suppose to point in gymnastics), but then she couldn’t curve her fingers and see the letters. So, we wrote the standard C position on her knuckles.
Then, I found a nice chart online: http://theclasspiano.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/normal-piano-key-labels.pdf
Super easy to print and slip behind the keys of any piano!
Now she can play this week’s songs! yea!!!
Of course, we’re not sure what we’ll do when she moves to just the notes, but for now it works. 🙂

“Mermaids” and Clues of Dyslexia

Zelie has started acrobatics and loves it! 🙂  The other day, she came home telling me that they were learning how to do “Mermaids.”  It took me a little while and watching what she was talking about to realize that she meant “ariels”  (the cartwheels with no hands)! 

With dyslexia, she has a very visual memory – she thinks in pictures.  So, when she was introduced to the new word “ariel,” she associated it with Disney’s Little Mermaid.  Some might think this is a natural association for kids, which may be true.  However, she still cannot always remember if the word she wants is “mermaid” or “ariel” when talking about acrobatics.  This is because there is still an image, not a word!  Both words have the same image for her.

This can be a clue for dyslexia – not including “senior” moments of forgetfulness!   It is helpful to understand it in this way so that we as parents or teachers do not get upset or frustrated with children.  Similarly, someone with dyslexia might read “little” when she sees the word “small.”  For those of us who think and read words instead of pictures, it seems crazy and like they are not paying attention!  However, I have learned to just say the correct word and keep going, because they do mean the same thing.

So, next time you watch gymnastics, look for those “mermaids” on the balance beam! 😉

This entry was posted on October 2, 2012. 1 Comment

Speak It!

Wow! We just found a new app for Google Chrome called Speak It! It allows Zelie to highlight text on any website and the computer lady reads it to her. This is really helpful since our schooling is an online program. Now, instead of her having to wait for me to do history, math, art, or science, she can easily go to the subject and ask the computer to read it to her! K12 already has “reading rooms with audio” for history, but not for other subjects.

The reading program (Mark12) is all audio enhanced already, so that is covered, too. But the new freedom she has with her other subjects is wonderful! Right now, she is learning about the scientific method WITHOUT ME!!! 🙂

Oh, and did I mention that it is free? 🙂

What a wonderful discovery! Praise God!!
(I’m adding the link on the sidebar.)

Getting past the short vowels

Zelie is feeling more and more confident with sight words and can do short vowels, but she is completely avoiding the lessons that challenge her to move beyond that! (We are still doing Lexia on the computer – in her current level, she just has the two silent-e games left to master!)
I know that she is avoiding it because it is harder for her. Now that she has a “trick” with sight words (the pictures on the words), she can do those. However, trying to remember that the “e” on the end makes the vowel long and even being able to hear whether a vowel is long or short is a challenge in and of itself.
So, any advice from those with dyslexia? Is it just from lots of practice that you are able to tell the different between can and cane? Please share your thoughts and experiences!

Visual, Indeed!

Today, Zelie finished her level of the Lexia program that she was working through all summer – yea! That meant that she was able to start the next level.
One of the tasks on the next level is to read words and match them with pictures – five at a time. It was interesting to see what she was doing…
She would sort of click randomly on each word and picture until the computer read them all to her. Then, she was able to remember which word was which – even when she went back to it later in the day! I didn’t intervene since it seemed to be working and other parts of the program really help her decode words using phonics… I just found it fascinating that once the computer read the word once, she was able to read the words after – very much a sight reading method.
I’m sure it is not ideal, but, like I said, there are other parts that are covering phonics, too, so I am not too worried, just fascinated! 🙂