ArtsBridge

artsbridge

ArtsBridge produces quality performing arts education programs designed to engage and motivate the next generation of artists and art supporters. In collaboration with leading arts organizations and community arts leaders, ArtsBridge paves pathways for students to experience and benefit from the positive power of the arts.

Dana M. Merritt MS CCC SLP

Dana Merritt Headshot IM 2012

Dana M. Merritt MS CCC-SLP specializes in the diagnosis & treatment of auditory, visual, & motor processing disorders that cause delays in speech, language & learning. She has developed a unique phonics program called “A Time for Phonics” that utilizes the Hebbian learning rule through the student’s “eye gate,” “ear gate,” & “motor gate” to drive neuroplasticity for reading, writing, spelling and vocabulary. She has also developed “Math Made Fun Through Playing Cards” to improve students’ working memory, math skills and social skills.

The Merritt Way

themerrittway

“A Time for Phonics” is a book that includes the first ten steps of comprehensive phonics that teaches reading, writing, spelling skills and builds vocabulary. This system is based on the power of neuroplasticity to build “phonemic decoding skills” in a fun way using a whiteboard and no boring memorization drills. “A Time for Phonics Photo Flashcards” coincides with the ten steps and they have amazing color photos and every word can be “sounded out.” “Math Made Fun Through Playing Cards” is a unique set of playing cards that is designed to reinforce odd and even perception, eliminates confusion between 6 and 9 numerals, enhances computational skills and improves working memory. Math skills can be greatly enhanced through various activities. Algebra can even be clearly explained and practiced using these unique cards.

How Does Your Child Learn?

youngreader

Chances are, you have an understanding of how you learn. You may be the type that needs to read something to figure it out, you may need to see something in action to understand. There are six different types of ways people learn. Figuring out what type of learner your child (and you) are will help you figure out how your child learns and will be very beneficial in your homeschool.

Here is a breakdown of the different types of learners you may have:

  •  Visual (spatial): Your child may prefer using pictures, images, and spatial understanding.
  • Aural (auditory-musical): Your child learns better while listening to music or other sounds.
  • Verbal (linguistic): Your child may prefer using words, both in speech and writing.
  • Physical (kinesthetic): Your child learns better while moving or using his body, hands, and sense of touch.
  • Logical (mathematical): Your child needs to understand the logic, reasoning and systems
  • Social (interpersonal): Your child may prefer to learn in groups or with other people.
  • Solitary (intrapersonal): Your child prefers to work alone and use self-study.

If you are not sure how your child learns, think about these different types of learners. Does your child love to read, and research information (Verbal or Visual)? Is he always on the go, and unable to sit still during Math (Physical)? Does he need a quiet place to read and study (Solitary)?

If you are not sure how your child learns there are different types of online and paper quizzes out there that can help you determine his and your learning style. There are also books, and online information that can help you narrow it down.

Chances are you may have a child who learns differently than you. I am a verbal learner. I need to read information to fully understand it. My children, are more kinesthetic learners. This means that textbooks don’t work well in our family unless they are accompanied by hands on activities. Learning this about my children helped me figure out the best way to teach them.

Once you realize what type of learner your child is you will have a much easier time actually teaching them. As your child’s teacher, you can adapt your methods to better suit each of your children. This luxury is something that public schools cannot offer their students! So, take advantage of it. Study your child, find out how they learn, and offer them that customized education that only homeschooling offers!

Author: Misty Bailey

Misty is a homeschool mom of three and has been homeschooling for over 4 years. You can read about her homeschool journey and more on her blog, Joy in the Journey.

 

Creative Writing: A Tool of Self-Empowerment

creative writing

Allowing children to risk expression of their thoughts and feelings in an imaginative way is one of the best things that you can do for them. When expressed via the written word, you have creative writing. Be it fiction or nonfiction, poetry or prose, well-developed or hardly so, creative writing is a fundamental tool of self-empowerment.

As the legendary Dr. Seuss noted, “I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient of living.”

Through creative writing, your child will learn how to, or gain more practice in:

  • Brainstorming
  • Creating something from nothing
  • Revising
  • Publishing (should that be your choice)

Another beautiful facet of creative writing is that age isn’t much a factor. If your child can speak, then they can also express themselves through writing. How? Easy…

My four-year-old tells the story and I write it. Every now and then, I’ll toss in a prompt, asking her for the character’s name or “What happens next?” You should see her face when I read it back to her. And though my eight-year-old is a little more advanced, he requires more guidance. Given good questions, he gets the ball rolling in no time.

Be careful not to assume that pre-teens and older children will quickly grasp the skill, or be bored with it. Instead, give them an array of topics—always reserving the right to choose their own. Once they’ve latched to a story, have them zoom in on that piece. Refine it at least three times a week, according to a planned curve (e.g. lessons on depth, originality, vividness, and fearlessness) or a good old fashioned spontaneous one.

For teens—or anyone who’s ready, for that much—diversify the writing genre. Dabble in business, technical, journalism, marketing, script writing, or whichever s/he happens to want to try. For instance, they can rewrite the script of one of their favorite television episodes or create a flyer for an upcoming event (real or imagined).

The point is just to get them writing, and knowing that with time and practice, it gets easier. I’ve taught adults who were trying their hand at creative writing for the first time, learn it and love it. And by learning it, I mean finding their voice and owning it!

In turn, with consistent writing, all age ranges improved their overall communication skills and comprehension levels. Others have also experienced an upturn in their:

  • Love of reading
  • Curiosity of other arts
  • Elected solitude
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness
  • Self-esteem
  • Self-confidence

Have you tried creative writing? If so, how does it flow into your homeschooling environment?

Guest Author: Trelani D. (Homeschool Mom)