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)

 

 

Randi’s Curriculum Choices

curriculum

Randi’s Curriculum Choices

There are way too many curriculum choices.  Some are excellent and a lot are not!  In creating this list, I didn’t want to add to all the noise and burden parents to just buy more stuff to put on their shelves. I wanted to keep my recommendations to only the books that are very, very special.  There are many more books, but most people don’t have very much time and their children don’t either.  So read and use the really good books first and then if time permits, read the rest.

Early Learners

 

Bible

  • Leading Little Ones to God/Marian Schooland (Best written beginning devotions)
  • Big Thoughts for Little Thinkers/Joey Allen Series of Books on Theology for Little Ones
  • Proverbs For Parenting/  (Must have book for training and disciplining children. Categories include: lying, fighting, honesty and many others)

Elementary

 

Georgia State History

  • This is Your Georgia by Bernice McCullar ISBN:0-932659-01-2

Middle/High School

 

Science and Geography

  • Exploring Our World by Tony Hare ISBN:0-7651-1027-x – This is an excellent book to use with all ages of children.  It can be used as a Geography or Environmental Science book from an ecological zone perspective.  Enhance study by using lapbooking techniques.  Its easy to use the unit study and Dina Zike’s dioramas to make the nine biomes come alive!
  • Hands-On Chemistry Activities with Real-Life Applications for grades 8-12.  by Norman Herr ISBN: 0-87628-262-1 – Now this is the way to study Chemistry!  Your students will learn more about Chemistry by working through this book than any old textbook.  You may have to invest in a few things that you can get from Carolina Biological Supply or some other supply house, but you can do this book with the whole family.  Fun and educational! Start this book in 8th or 9th grade, go slow and do 3-5 pages at a time.  Leave enough time to do the Bob Jones Chemistry textbook and you will have a great science student!

History -

  • Quest of a Hemisphere by Donzella Cross Boyle published by Western Islands – Don’t miss this great history book! ” Written in an engaging narrative style, Quest of a Hemisphere is a factual American history written from documents, manuscripts, journals, diaries, letters, newspapers, and rare books…  Illustrations feature the art of historical periods – reproductions of sketches and paintings, portraits of famous men by artists of their time, and copies of documents in the original style of printing.”  This is a great book for the Charlotte Mason approach or unit studies.

Government -

  • God and Government I and II by Gary DeMar – These books are great for read aloud and discussion.  Although there are many questions, the author follows up with the answers which are probably better for study than answering the questions for yourself.
  • Government by the People by David Magleby ISBN: 0-13-192159-2Generally used as a college textbook, this surprisingly well written government book is interesting and covers all the points that allows students to test out of their college government course.  Be sure to take the CLEP or SAT Subject Exam after completing this book!

Mathematics -

Don’t tell your child you were terrible at math!  The best way to teach math is to purchase a copy for yourself and a copy for your child and do the problems along with her.  I promise, it won’t be as hard as when you were in school. You will be so glad you did this!

  • College Outline Series – Pre Algebra ISBN , Introductory Algebra ISBN 0-15-601524-2, and Intermediate Algebra ISBN 0-15-601522-6Over and over this is my favorite set of Algebra books.  The subject Pre Algebra is essentially fractions, decimals, and percents which are usually taught in 7th and 8th grade.  Even with my public and private school kids, I have to pull out this book to help them learn concepts.  It is more systematically written and clearer than any other textbook I have used.  Once a person uses a well programmed textbook, they never go back!
  • Geometry – Notables Interactive Study Notebook ISBN 0-07-868213-4 – This is a consumable workbook that makes a very good Geometry textbook.  It doesn’t focus heavily on proofs, which is a good thing.
  • Videos – Chalk Dust – Chalk Dust might cost more than other videos but it does a better job and you can always resell it, so your net cost is not so great.
  • Prentice Hall Math Textbooks – Better than Glencoe and way better than McDougal Littel!  What does better mean?  Better formatting, better questions, better explanations.

Life Skills –

  • Just Do Something/Kevin DeYoung (Making Good Decisions)  Helps the reader understand that determining your career calling is not as important as establishing proactive behaviors to bloom where you are planted!

Special Needs

Textbooks for HI/LO – High interest for middle thru high school, low reading level 3-4 with larger than normal print, shorter chapters,  and clear questions. When your student has learned how to read and you want to transition him to a textbook.  These are good choices.  Interestingly, these are also good choices for the very young, academically gifted child.

AGS Globe, now part of Pearson has great textbooks for Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Language Arts. http://www.pearsonschool.com/index.cfm?locator=PSZ1Ai

Contests

The National Bible Bee for ages 8-18     www.BibleBee.org

Magazines

Homeschooling Today