Parenting & Discipline Strategy For Adults

Parenting & Discipline Strategy For Adults

The #1 Parenting and Discipline Strategy 

Every momma wants to know the #1 parenting and discipline strategy for her kids.

We all want that secret sauce to create the best kids.  You know what I am talking about.

Because we fiercely love our children, we moms desperately want to do this thing right.

So we search and search for the parenting and discipline strategy that will make our kids behave and turn into who we want them to be.

We have to, right?  I mean, really…

Who wants their kid to grow up to be a psychopath or self-centered narcissist?  

The world tells us that it is all up to us.  That raising a functioning adult (or at least avoiding the psychopath part) requires a specific parenting and discipline strategy.

 

The Elusive Perfect Parenting & Discipline Strategy

Good for you if you are the lucky mom who has found that secret sauce.

If your kid is one of the “good” ones who makes you look good wherever you go, this post is not for you.

Godspeed, Lucky Lady.

Now, if you are like me and so many other moms in this world, it’s time for us to get real.

Being a mom is a wonderful experience.  It grows us in so many ways.  But it is in no way easy or simple.

As I have learned the hard way, parenting requires adults to demonstrate the discipline and patience we desperately want to impart to our kids. 

That takes work and effort.  And a good look in the mirror.

 

Parenting & Disciplline Strategies

First Parenting Instinct: Reaction

When our children are “disobedient,” often our first instinct is to use our default parenting and discipline strategy.

If you were raised in a traditional household or the United States of America, your norm for parenting may tell you to put a stop to bad behavior ASAP.

This was certainly the case for me.  Maybe you can relate.

In the face of outward disobedience, you may offer a quick and stern warning.

“No, ma’am! You do not behave that way!”

And many times that approach to parenting children appears on the outside to work.

Our kids acquiesce in the face of fear and the negative behavior stops, at least momentarily.

But what about our kids who are wired-differently?

 

God looks at the heart.  1 Samuel 16:7

devotional bible study special needs moms

No Room For Mistakes

When my oldest, now 14, was little, any hint of disobedience was met with that firm approach that allowed no room for mistakes.

While I was a very loving, highly-engaged, and super fun mom, I was also parenting my kid from a place of fear.

I feared that if I did not approach outward disobedience swiftly, I would be opening the door to having “that” kid.

And that would be my fault.  I would be a bad mom.

And honestly, is that a surprise?

Outward behavior is generally seen as the be all end all within the church and our culture.  Regardless of whether or not we admit it…

For me, the message was loud and clear that the slightest crack of the bad behavior door was unacceptable.

The messages that tell us…

1. That our value as a mother is based on our kids’ behavior

She had better nip that behavior in the bud.

2. A good mom has a good kid.

 The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

3. A good kid behaves the way all the adults around them wants.

You need to give your Aunt Sally a hug regardless of how you feel.  It’s just polite.

I think I just threw up a bit.  Ugh.

Ultimate Goal?

But is the ultimate goal of our parenting to simply stop bad behavior in the moment?

I am not so sure anymore.

Friend, there is a problem with this “nip behavior in the bud” parenting and discipline mentality.

The problem lies when our pattern of parenting is based only on reaction to perceived misbehavior.  Without stopping to make sure our perception is correct.  When we get so caught up in our kids’ outward behavior that we fail to reach their hearts.

 

  • When we assume a child who is screaming bloody murder in the church foyer is just being a brat.
    • Except he is overwhelmed by all of the sounds, smells and fear of being left with strangers
  • When we judge that teen girl because she is dressed all in black covered in piercings and dark eyeliner
    • We fail to ask her about her broken heart over never being enough

God looks at the heart, right?

Rally Mission | Why I Started

Raising Kids to Be Adults

God willing, our kids are going to spend roughly 75-80% of their lives as adults.  So when we are looking for the most effective parenting and discipline strategies, we need to keep our end goal in mind.

Let’s set our kids up for a healthy future by teaching them that outward behavior is not the be all end all.

It’s their hearts that we must be after.

A child who feels loved, valued and connected to the adults around them feels safe to process through the heart issues that precede negative behaviors.

Let’s learn to seek relationship with our children regardless of what things look like on the outside.

As a believer in Jesus, I cannot strive for anything less than a relationship-based approach.  That is what the Gospel is all about.

In spite of our outward ugly behavior, God seeks us through relationship with His Son.  We are internally changed through relationship, not punishment.

 

The Greatest Discipline Strategy?  Mom’s Grace

The greatest parenting and discipline strategy is for the adults in this world.  We need to train ourselves to see behind the behavior and seek our kids’ hearts.

A mom willing to look beyond the parenting paradigm.  The mom willing to “look bad” in front of others who want her to “nip that behavior in the bud.”

You will know her.

She is the mom whose kid is screaming and melting down in the middle of the grocery store.

Instead of dripping with sweat worrying about what you think, she is offering her overwhelmed and exhausted child grace.

And when that momma hears an old lady saying something like,

“She had better get that kid under control,”

That momma could care less.

She knows the truth of humanity’s brokenness is covered in the grace of God through relationship with His Son.  Grace and truth.

Let’s go with God on this one, Friend.  For the sake of our kids, let’s go with God.

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Raising a Neurodiverse Kid (To Fail)?

Raising a Neurodiverse Kid (To Fail)?

Are You Raising a Neurodiverse Kid to Fail?

Are you one of the millions of moms raising a neurodiverse kid?   How about a child with ADHD, Autism, Sensory Issues or a learning disability?  Let me ask you this… Do you believe that our children are all unique?   
No.  Really.  Deep down inside, do you really believe it is ok for our kids to be different?  Why, then, do we as moms struggle so much when our children think and process the world differently?   

I am convinced that it is because we moms have been believing a lie, Friend.  

christian mom raising adhd kids

Lies We Believe When Raising a Neurodiverse Kid

There is this idea that tells us something is wrong with our kids if they don’t fit into the box of the world’s expectations.  And of course, for many of us, that idea then spirals into this one.
“I am a bad mom because my kid doesn’t fall in line.”
It gets worse.  There is another message out there that so many of us moms believe without ever questioning its validity.  You know the one I am talking about.
It rears its ugly head when traditional discipline and education don’t work with our child. 
Something must be wrong with my child.  

Ugh.  I cringe even thinking about this.

When our kids don’t fall in line, many of us default to a line of thinking often perpetuated in our culture.  Something is wrong with my my kids and I need to fix it.

And when we’re raising a neurodiverse kid, this can be extremely dangerous and destructive.  Listen to episode 29 for more support to move the needle forward with your child.  

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

What is neurodiversity?

Let’s back up a bit.

What is neurodiversity?

According to Understood.org, neurodiversity is:

Neurodiversity is a viewpoint that brain differences are normal, rather than deficits.

The idea of neurodiversity can have benefits for kids with learning and thinking differences.

This concept can help reduce stigma around learning and thinking differences.

Here is the deal.  We say we celebrate diversity in our country, but then we shame those who don’t fall in line.  The kids who

  • act differently,
  • say the “wrong” thing,
  • look differently because they wear the wrong clothes,
  • like the “wrong” things…

For the sake of our kids’ futures, this has got to stop.

christian mom raising adhd kids

Take God At His Word

Perhaps, our neurodiverse kids were never meant to “fall in line”?   If you are a Christian mom like me, you may struggle with this.

Many of us have been told by our church culture that behavior A, B, & C are appropriate.  Then we are told that Behaviors X, Y and Z are inappropriate.

The next message is loud and clear.  It’s our job to control our kids’ behaviors based on these rules.

But what happens when our kids do things differently?  When they don’t respond and fall in line?  We often panic and push harder with the same old parenting strategies that DO NOT work.

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

Neurodiverse Kids Need Moms To Think Differently

Maybe you are the momma who watches her child break down with anxiety when it’s “homework” time.  Or are you the mom who has been “kicked out” of playgroup because your child doesn’t know how to “behave” appropriately?  

Perhaps you are like so many other moms who wake at 2:00 am overwhelmed and gripped with fear.  You know your child is struggling but you don’t know what to do.  Your mind races as to what you can do to lift up and support your child well. 

Everything the “experts” tell you only causes angst, pain and broken relationship between you and your child.

Sensory Meltdowns Are Not Bad Behavior

Or you may be the mom who is late to church because your kid had a meltdown in the parking lot because the tag on her new pair of pants is driving her INSANE.  You try desperately to create cohesion in between your kids, but your one child screams bloody murder because his sister won’t stop singing. 

Your child is overwhelmed and needs you to stop and love them through it, but all eyes are on you telling you to nip that in the bud. 

Shame.  One of the most destructive tools of the enemy.

christian moms and teens

Are you over it?

You may be over listening to those who advise you to continue pushing, disciplining and punishing for “bad behavior.”

  • That you aren’t praying hard enough.
  • You are too lenient.
  • Your child is manipulating you and has to learn sometime.

Have these approaches been successful for you?  What about your child?

I can only imagine it is not going well.

Neurodiverse Kids Need Us to Believe in Them

What would happen if we moms came together and started to think outside-the-box for our uniquely-wired kids?

Imagine a tribe of moms supporting one another through the tough moments.

When our approach to our exhuasted and tantrumming kid is a co-regulating hug rather than the acceptable time-out, we’ve got each others’ backs.

Collectively we can fight against the unhealthy desire to people please.  And when the naysayers call us helicopter parents, we confidently hold our heads high knowing we’re doing the best we can to meet the needs of our own unique kids.

Together, we can embrace our kids’ unique-wiring and allow our kids to be who they are.  Moms sharing a vision of a bright and thriving future for each of our unique children.

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

Raising a Neurodiverse Kid: Change the Narrative

Let’s change the narrative for our outside-the-box thinkers.

For our kids with:

  • ADHD 
  • Autism 
  • Sensory Processing Issues
  • Learning Differences
  • Anxiety…

Or for the kids who may not have a diagnosis:

  • The child who says, “I don’t know” all the time…
  • Or the one who can’t stop moving, talking or is impulsive,
  • The kid whose room is always a mess,
  • Here is a BIG one… the child who won’t obey no matter what…

Is the traditional approach working?

It’s time for us moms to come together and change the narrative for our outside-the-box kids.  There is a better way.

I think we can.  In fact, I know we can because we are already doing it.  We would love to have you join us.

my kid hates writing, homeschool help

Raising Neurodiverse Kids Through A New Lens

When we shift our thinking, we then will be able to equip our kids with what they need.  We mommas can then give them the support, encouragement and tools they need to use those perceived weaknesses as the strengths that they really are.

No more kids growing up with self-worth that tells them they will never be good enough so why bother.  Every child has been blessed by God with gifts, passions and purpose.  Let’s begin to parent them this way, Mommas.

We are in this together equipping our uniquely-designed kids to thrive.

christian special needs mom bible study and parenting course

P.S Check out my friend Tina’s story

My dear friend, Tina, has been living out this momma growth mindset with her teen daughter.

Tina’s daughter was diagnosed with Selective Mutism, just one of many forms of childhood anxiety, at the age of 12.

Her daughter shares her story navigating the world of not being able to speak outside the safety of her home for years.  She offers 5 tips to support our anxious kids.

Note how she describes her mother’s role in supporting her.  Read more here.  

Be encouraged, Friend.  We’re in this together.  

Recommended Reading For Moms Raising Kids With ADHD, SPD, ASD (or No Acronym At All)

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

The Ultimate Guide to Brain Breaks eBook
adoptive special needs christian mom book

Grab A Copy Of Behind the Behaviors!

For the weary Christian momma who doesn’t know what else to do.

I hear you. I’ve been there. I get it.  That is why I wrote this book.

Know this… God chose you on purpose to raise your uniquely-wired child.  

Grab a copy, be equipped & be encouraged.

Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

Best Homeschool Math For Struggling Students

Best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students

This is part two of a two part series answering the question,

“How to choose the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students?”

If you have not read part one, definitely check it out.

In it we discuss the 5 Tips every mom needs to know before purchasing homeschool math curriculum.  Save yourself money, stress and time and read that here.

What Is The Best Special Needs Homeschool Math Curriculum?

In today’s post, some veteran homeschool moms share their opinions on the best homeschool math curriculum for struggling students.  For all intents and purposes, we are using the term “struggling students” to describe:

  1. ADHD
  2. Autism
  3. Dyscalculia
  4. Dyslexia
  5. Any other learning difference
  6. Kids who just hate math

If your child tends to struggle with math, regardless of the reason, this post is for you.

Homeschool Math curriculum struggling students

Mastery Vs Spiral Based Homeschool Math

There are two different approaches to math curricula out there: spiral-based and mastery-based.    I discuss these in more detail in Part One.  

  • Mastery-based 
  • Spiral-based 

Here is a brief explanation of the two and important factors to consider when deciding which will be best for your student.

Mastery-based curriculum focuses on one concept at a time.  The goal is for the student to master the concept before moving on to the next math skill.

Spiral-based homeschool math curriculum reviews previously learned material while learning new concepts.  Both mastery and spiral approaches have their pros and cons.  Again, check out this post for more info.  

Mastery-Based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. Learn Math Fast

Beckye Barnes, of Beckye Barnes Consulting, recommends Learn Math Fast.  

We have enjoyed Learn Math Fast. It works for all ages and it starts with the basics.  You only move forward once you master the concepts. It is mastery-based and teachers the concepts without busy work.  An excellent choice for those who need a refresher course.

Beckye points to the importance of solidifying foundational math skills.

They also focus on foundational skills in a real world way. Basic addition and subtraction is taught using pennies. I think fractions is explained using a dollar then four quarters. It also focuses on learning the concept without endless worksheets.

Beckye Barnes, homeschool mom, Autism, PTSD, ADHD, dyslexia & dysgraphia.  She just graduated a student with a 4.868 GPA who is entering college as a freshman with 30 college credits.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

Dyslexia & Homeschool Math Curriculum

Learn Math Fast was a game changer for my daughter with dysgraphia.  LMF breaks the lessons down to make it easier to understand, and they keep it simple.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, also loves Learn Math Fast.  Her daughter has dyscalculia, and has tried several math curriculum options. LMF was the first that explained certain concepts in a way she understands.

My daughter felt like she could follow along better with the shorter explanations they gave. She benefited from the break down of each equation into bite size pieces.

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, dyslexia and ADHD, dyscalcula and dysgraphia

2. Life of Fred

Life of Fred is a mastery-based math curriculum that is completely unconventional, but is extremely effective for our right-brained kids.

The Life of Fred series is a literature-based math curriculum that follows the narrative of the main character, Fred.  Fred is a child genius living life as a 5 year-old child on a college campus.  Told you it was unconventional.  Ha!

Each book focuses on one math concept.   Through story, it teaches math concepts in a way that is highly engaging and clever. 

Foundational Math Skills Through Story- For All Ages

Like Learn Math Fast and other mastery-based programs, this series is meant to be read in order regardless of your child’s age.  The storyline and concepts build upon one another to provide the student with a solid understanding of math.

This series is an excellent series to supplement your child’s math skills.  Some homeschool families use it as the basis of their entire math program.

I highly recommend it if you have a child who HATES math but loves story.  This program goes all the way up through college-level math including Calculus.

Multiplication Tables The Fun & Effective Way!

One thing you’ll know about me, is that I’m all about equipping kids with what they need to best learn and thrive.  When it comes to our right-brained thinkers, there is nothing like using mnemonics and imagery to support learning.

Times Tales is an excellent company that supports homeschool families with multisensory tools to support math learning.

It is a brain-based program that supports long-term memory of foundational math facts.   Using mnemonic-based DVD and streaming videos, they creatively support children in memorizing multiplication facts for good. 

I cannot more highly stress the importance of laying a solid foundation in basic multiplication facts.  Use your child’s unique wiring to their advantage with Times Tales.

2. Math U See

What math does a math professor use in her homeschool?  Melanie Fulton of, The Math Profs, 

For math we do Math-U-See, but we add a lot of supplemental math with it. When you have two math parents in the house EVERYTHING can become a math problem.

Melanie, received her PhD in math from Virginia Tech University, she explains more about the benefits of Math U See.

MUS works for us.  The lessons aren’t too long–and sometimes we don’t even do a whole lesson in 1 day.  

She also points out the clutter-free layout of the pages which is helpful for kids who struggle with visual discrimination.

The books and worksheets are plain–not tons of pictures or stories to distract.  There is a video included so that my children don’t have to have mom or dad teach it.  And there are manipulatives to see what is going on. 

Melanie Fulton, Math-loving mama who homeschools her 4 children and often employs the aid of chicken, dairy goat, cat, and dog math tutors.  (www.themathprofs.com)    

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

The Love Just Keeps Pouring Out: Math U See for Struggling Students 

Katherine, homeschool mom of 4 different learners, tells us that despite a whole host of learning differences,

Math U See works for us because it is very sequential.  This is essential for struggling learners.  The program helps with retaining math skills by focusing on one math concept at a time.

We have always used MUS, because my bookends definitely need the mastery-based curriculum.

My middle 2 could probably handle spiral, but they are doing great, so there hasn’t been a need to change.

Katherine Fain, homeschooling for 7 years, Autism, Auditory processing disorder, Dysgraphia and probably more

homeschool math curriculum for struggling students, special needs, adhd, autism, dyscalculia

Spiral-based Homeschool Math Curricula

1. The Good and The Beautiful

Melanie loves The Good and the Beautiful for math.

I have loved The Good and the Beautiful Math for my ADHD-kiddo.  Each math lesson is a different activity.  I thought I didn’t like it at first because it’s a spiral approach, but now I LOVE it because it’s a spiral approach! Ha!  

Like me, Melanie understands the importance of shorter lessons to allow her kids push through an entire lesson.  She also raves about the shorter lessons.  

Lessons take 15-20 min max.  We are still learning our basic facts, but we are also learning time and money while playing games. My kids really LOVE it!  

special needs homeschool math

Spiral-Based Homeschool Math For Struggling Learners

2. Teaching Textbooks

We love Teaching Textbooks.  We’ve been homeschooling for about 8 years. One kid who just doesn’t like math, one with special needs, and one who finds math easy. Teaching Textbooks has worked well for all of them.

Krista, 10 years homeschooling, 3 kids, Girl 17, ADHD, Boy, 15 ASD, G 12 Diva

Magda Miller has been homeschooling her two kids for going on 8 years.

I second Teaching Textbooks. I have a very self-motivated, math-minded older child who started TT when he was 5.  It just clicked.  I thought his less math inclined younger sister might not do as well with the system, but I was pleasantly proved wrong. 

Like so many homeschool moms, she points out how nicely Teaching Textbooks supports moms.

Teaching Textbooks does the teaching and the grading.  I am more involved with my younger child’s movement through the program, but it still allows for her to be very independent in her learning and it sticks.  She is learning and retaining.

 Ma Miller, homeschool mom of 2 rockstar kids, suspected ADHD, ASD 

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

Spiral Based Homeschool Math Curriculum 

3. Christian Light

Within my own homeschool, we have used a variety of math materials for our ADHD and math-minded family.  One of our favorite spiral-based math curricula is Christian Light Math.   I like Christian Light for several reasons.  

1. Christian Light is broken up into ten worktexts for each grade level.  

This, in and of itself, is highly motivating to our kids who like to check things off their lists.  Every finished worktext feels like an accomplishment. 

2. It thorough and on the advanced side.  This is great for your math-minded kids.  

3. The program is student-led.   All of Christian Light materials are designed to be student-led.  As such are visually appealing and broken up into smaller chunks.  Each workbook is easy to follow without being overwhelming. 

4. The price!  Christian Light materials are very affordable.  

homeschool math for struggling students

Pivoting Between Mastery & Spiral When Needed

Despite loving this math curriculum, eventually we hit a wall with it.  We moved away from Christian Light as math concepts increased in complexity.  

As we neared Algebra, my oldest needed to focus on one concept at a time in order to best process, retain and develop mastery.  We shifted to a mastery, topic based curriculum, Developmental Math, in order to solidify very specific math concepts to prep her for Algebra.  

Being willing to temporarily pivot when we hit that wall, made all the difference in the world for her as she entered Algebra.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheets

Another Homeschool Math Resource I Love

When the traditional approach doesn’t work, whether it be for an entire subject or a particular math concept, I am always open to pivot.  

Having a number of homeschool math tools in your tool box is always a good idea.  I’ve found this math program to be super helpful.

Math Minutes

Math Minutes is a simple math workbook designed to hit the most important math concepts.  The workbook series is very concise and is extremely manageable for our kids who dislike math.  There are only 10 math problems each day which is a huge plus for kids with ADHD.  However, the math problems are intentionally chosen to support foundational math skills.

Each workbook is focused on a general grade level.  I believe these were originally created as a supplement for traditional grade-level math.  However, when used as math spine, this can be an excellent tool.  A math spine refers to a framework of sorts to guide your teaching.

Guide When Teaching Homeschool Math To Struggling Students

Please note that there is no teaching in this workbook.  However, this is a great tool that can help you easily assess where your child may need additional support.

When my daughter used Math Minutes, any problems she struggled with were the concepts that we could go over together.  This preserved her limited capacity for math to be used on the concepts that she needed to focus on.

Math Minutes is a great tool to support math in a non-threatening way.  Don’t buy into the hype that your child has to do endless amounts of math problems in order to learn.  This is simply not the case.  When teaching the struggling student, work with the grain and think “less is more.”

Homeschool Math Curriculum For Your Struggling Student

Ultimately, what homeschool math curriculum is best for your child will be based on a number of factors.  Understanding who your child is, how your child is wired and your own capacity, will guide you to make the best decision. 

As you make curriculum buying decisions, grab a copy of the homeschool 101 planning guide that I’ve created for you.  It includes prompts to help you identify the most important information that’ll help you choose the best math curriculum.  The best choice for your uniquely-wired student in this specific season. 

Ready For Homeschool Language Arts?

If you are looking for help choosing the right homeschool language arts curriculum, you’re in luck.

Before ever looking at curriculum options with my homeschool clients, I walk them through a series of questions.  I’m always looking to identify their child’s wiring and learning style in order to best support learning.  Continue reading to find out the best language arts curriculum for your child.

Our Journey Westward

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Orton Gillingham Method For Struggling Readers

Orton Gillingham Method For Struggling Readers

Orton Gillingham Method & Struggling Readers

Have you heard of the Orton Gillingham method?  What about the All About Reading program?

Do you have a struggling reader in your home?

Sadly, as of 2016, roughly 36 million adults struggled with basic reading and writing skills.

This alone is tragic.  And can have devastating impacts on lifestyle, emotional well-being, access to decent-paying jobs… to name just a few.

Whether you are a homeschool educator or a teacher in a traditional classroom, we all agree that we want our kids to read.

Ultimately, child who can confidently read is on their way to a lifestyle of learning, knowledge and a brighter future.

So what happens when your own child struggles to read? 

What do we do when our kids resist reading or “hate” reading?

When a child has dyslexia, a learning difference or simply struggles to catch on, how we approach our kids’ reading challenges has vast implications.

This is why it is crucial for parents to be armed with information and resources to support their struggling student.

orton-gillingham, all about reading, homeschool reading curriculum, ADHD, dyslexia

Orton Gillingham Method

One alternative reading teaching method is the Orton-Gillingham (OG) method.   

Orton Gillingham is a teaching approach that explicitly teaches the relationships between letters, combinations of letters and their sounds.

It is multi-sensory which means it uses multiple parts of the brain in order to solidify reading component skills.  

How to Evaluate a Reading Program

Multi-Sensory: The 5 Senses?

When speaking of the term multi-sensory, this simply refers to the various sensory systems within the body.  And while we now know that the body contains dozens of sensory systems, for the sake of this post, we will focus on the basic 5 senses.  Think of the senses that you learned about in grade school.

  • Sight
  • Taste
  • Hearing
  • Touch
  • Smell

Basically, each sensory system is designed to allow the brain to receive and process information from the outside world.  This is what many parents of uniquely-wired kids know as sensory input.  We know that a child with ADHD or autism may need specific sensory input in order to function well in day-to-day activities.

This same concept applies to learning in general.  The brain often needs multiple forms of sensory input specific to what is being learned.  Learn about the brain and the sensory systems that impact learning and behavior in the FREE 5 Day Devotional Video Series.

orton-gillingham, all about reading, homeschool reading curriculum, ADHD, dyslexia

An OG Example

Using the Orton Gillingham method of teaching reading, let’s look at an example.

When engaged in reading lessons, the teacher may have a child learn basic phonics sounds in the following way:

  • the child sees a letter symbol on a card (visual), 
  • builds the letter with clay (kinesthetic or touch), 
  • hears an adult modeling the sounds aloud (auditory), 
  • the child would then repeat back the sound (oral output) aloud (auditory )

Again, this multi-sensory learning approach is often highly effective as it targets multiple parts of the brain.  

All About Reading

All About Learning Press

All About Learning is a homeschool curriculum company that uses the Orton-Gillingham method.  

They have two programs lines to support literacy with each complementing one another.

  1. All About Spelling 
  2. All About Reading

This homeschool reading curriculum is highly effective, engaging and visually appealing for both parent-teacher and student alike.  

All About Reading

Orton Gillingham Method: Outside-the-Box

Both All About Spelling and All About Reading work well for our outside-the-box thinkers.  

The curriculum materials include:

  • Hands-on letter tiles, 
  • A systematic flash card system (unlike any I have ever used) that provides explicit and incremental instruction, 
  • Leveled readers that are engaging, fun, and well-illustrated, 
  • and easy to follow step-by-step teaching guides for parent teachers.

No stress on momma!!  Can I get an amen?!!

The Power of Orton-Gillingham

Letter Tiles & Systematic Flash Card System

Speaking to the intentional design of All About Reading and All About Spelling, the sequential flash card system is brilliant.

Children learn all the letter sounds for each letter and combination of letters. 

Rather than teaching our children that the English language doesn’t make sense or follow rules, it specifically teaches the patterns within our language.  For example,

  • c says “s” before i, e & y
  • a says “a” (cat), “A” (skate) and “ahh” (all)- this is laid out right away before official spelling or reading instruction begins
  • syllable division rules are explicitly taught
    • Open Syllables (represented by an open door image) have a long vowel sound (We)
    • Closed Syllables (represented by a closed door image) have a short vowel sound (hat)

Instead of waiting until kids are “older” to teach these ideas, these are assumed foundational skills that are taught at the lower levels.  

Homeschool Reading Dyslexia

All About Learning Press in My Home

Personally, some of the sweetest homeschool memories that we have had in my home involved our time using All About Spelling.

I actually taught my girls to read using a completely different reading instruction approach called the DISTAR method.  We used the book Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons.

Ultimately, my girls learned to read fairly easily using this resource.

However, once we had “mastered” reading, I wanted to give them a solid teaching in spelling and further strengthen their reading skills.

All About Spelling was an incredible blessing to us in a surprising way.  All About Spelling is chock full of literacy support that came from more deeply understanding the English language through spelling rules.

Both my girls loved physically manipulating the letter tiles.  The tiles’ color-coding of vowels, consanonts, vowel teams, etc. were highly effective.

All About Learning: Teaching the Teacher

Honestly, each lesson seemed to be an “aha” moment for me as the teacher.

Finally reading and spelling rules were no longer ambigous and without meaning.  The program provided me the key to put the puzzle pieces together.

Homeschooling and using All About Learning press’s materials have ultimately helped me become a better teacher.

Honestly, I have learned more about reading instruction through their curriculum than I ever did in graduate school.  And I earned my MA in Teaching!

 

Dyslexia Resource Library

Starting Over With All About Reading

This year, I will be starting at the beginning again.  While my oldest is going into high school, my middle is going into middle school, I will be starting kindergarten with my boy.

My son has cognitive differences including a severe speech and language delay.  Because of this, I have to be very intentional with my reading curriculum choice.

I’ve decided that in order to best equip him with what he needs to thrive as a reader, we will be using All About Reading this year.

I will post an update about his progress soon.  Can’t wait!

all about reading, all about spelling

Reading aloud TO your child as a reading strategy

In addition to seeking out alternative reading curriculum, I highly recommend reading aloud to your struggling reader.  Reading aloud to your child will yield incredible fruit including:

  • Language development 
  • Reading comprehension skills
  • Exposure to rich vocabulary
  • Deepened family connection and so much more…

For more on reading together as a family.

Dyslexia Resource Library

Who Benefits From Orton-Gillingham?

Kids are unique in so many ways.  This diversity includes neurodiversity… the way we think and process the world around us.  Our children (and all people) learn in different ways and develop at different times. 

I am convinced that every student can excel when equipped to learn based on who they are and their own wiring.   Therefore, teachers and parents need to be equipped with appropriate strategies for struggling readers. 

If our goal is to equip our children to become literate learners, we must be willing to think outside-the-box.   And how cool is it that we can homeschool our children in this country?   Not only that, but we can provide them with superior instruction using programs such as All About Reading.

So, Friend, what strategies and programs have you used with your struggling or resistant reader?  Do tell!  Comment below.  We are all in this together.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet
All About Spelling Giveaways
20 Best Tips

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

How Do I Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum? Learning Differences

How Do I Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum? Learning Differences

How Do I Choose The Best Homeschool Curriculum?

When mommas ask me to share my thoughts about what’s the best homeschool curriculum, I tend to answer with a question.

How does your child learn, how is she wired and what is he most interested in?  

Many moms haven’t yet identified this essential understanding about their children before jumping into spending big bucks on curriculum.  And that often bites us all in the butt.  (This includes me… Many times.  In the past decade.  Took me way too long to learn.  Ugh.)   

Anyhoo… Because of this, before I ever discuss specifics about curriculum, I walk my moms through a series of questions.  Utimately, the goal is to help tease out their child’s learning style, interests and wiring.   This will save everyone a lot of heartache and stress.  And it doesn’t hurt that it’ll save cash too.

Best Homeschool Curriculum - Learning Differences

by Lindsay Leiviska | A Heart For All Students

What’s the Best Curriculum?  The Most Important Info First

I ask questions designed to identify learning strengths and weaknesses. For example, 

  • What subjects does your tend to do well in and which does he or she struggle in? 
  • Are there any subjects that your child particularly enjoys?
  • Which concepts cause tears on a regular basis?

This helps us dive deeper to establish the root cause behind why a child struggles in a subject.  With this understanding, we then have a starting point.  

By doing this pre-work, moms are armed with essential information to choose the best homeschool curriculum for their child.  This’ll serve kids academically and emotionally.  In the end, this will bless the entire homeschool dynamic. 

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

homeschool language arts curriculum, special needs

Homeschool is NOT School At Home

Because we are all uniquely-designed, it makes sense that many children think and process the world differently.  Often, moms choose to homeschool their kids when they realize that their children are not served well in the traditional system. 

Ultimately, the reality is that a school system is just that.  It is a system meant to serve the masses and not the individual.  However, this is not a criticism.  By virtue of being a system, institutionalized educational frameworks cannot serve each individual child.  

So when a child consistently struggles or resists school, it is often best to step back and seek out other educational options. Check out this post for 7 Tips For The New Homeschool Mom.

This, my Friend, is when homeschooling shines as the blessing that it is.  No where else can one find the ability to meet the individual educational and emotional needs of the whole child. 

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet

Homeschooling is a Gift for Unique Thinkers

Homeschooling allows parents to provide outside-the-box thinkers the opportunities to succeed as students.  Whether a child has ADHD, dyslexia, a processing disorder or other learning difference, every child can thrive as a learner.

Working with the grain of our kids’ wiring and interests is key.  Doing so improves learning, self-worth, and creates a more joyful and peaceful educational experience.  For tips to optimize your child’s ADHD brain for the best learning, listen to this episode of the podcast.  

So What Is The Best Homeschool Curriculum For Unique Thinkers?

Sadly, I cannot tell you what the best homeschool curriculum is for your child.  However, I can offer you some great resources to check out once you have a baseline understanding of how your child is wired.  

For this post, I asked homeschool moms in A Heart For All Students community to share their insights.  They gave us their “best homeschool curriculum” choices. 

Please note that these moms are homeschooling kids with a variety of learning differences and styles. 

Today we will focus on the preferred Language Arts homeschool curricula of these seasoned homeschool moms.  Next week, we will hear all about their favorite math resources! 

data-pin-description=top homeschool reading curriculum for kids with special needs

Best Homeschool Curriculum- Language Arts

1. Master Books

Melissa Cochran, M.Ed., is a former principal, reading specialist, and kindergarten teacher.  She homeschools 2 teens with ASD, ADHD, PTSD, Anxiety, SPD, and PDD (Persistent Depressive Disorder).

She describes her homeschool as “it’s like alphabet soup around here!”  With so many nuances to how her kids learn, Master Books has been a hit in her home!

Master Books curriculum is open-and-go. The curriculum is written to the student and is easy for new homeschoolers to jump into without feeling overwhelmed.  Bonus! They have materials for Social Studies and Science, too.

Heather Purvis also enjoys Master Books with her son.  

My favorite is Master Books. It is Christ centered with a Charlotte Mason approach. I have had luck with the phonics and reading for my struggling reader.  It is not strenuous which makes it approachable for my son. 

Master Books isn’t heavy on pencil paper work, but more living education.  Their phonics and reading is focused more on letters, sounds and recognition. Not a ton of sight words. 

It’s a laid back approach with very simple reading by student with more reading to them by the parent.

Heather Shank-Purvis is mom to 5 very different learners.  Some are in homeschool, private and public school.  Her homeschooler navigates life with  ADHD, OCD, Anxiety, PANS/AE, Dyslexia and Dysgraphia.

Another Vote for Masterbooks As A Best Homeschool Curriculum

I am just switching to Master Books and so far I am loving the look of it!! We’re starting with the Language Arts for a Living Education.  Also, we purchased their Bible curriculum for my 11 year old.

Janelle, homeschool mom of 3, ADHD-infused homeschool life

Logic of English Tree

Orton-Gillingham Based Reading

2. Logic of English

Beckye Barnes, a homeschooling rockstar and an educational advocate, loves Logic of English.

Logic of English amazing. It is available both online and in print.  Based on the science of reading, it is a full language arts curriculum. 

Beckye Barnes is a homeschool mom of two teen boys, Autism, PTSD, ADHD, dyslexia & dysgraphia.  She just recently graduated a student with a 4.868 GPA who is entering college as a freshman with 30 college credits.
All About Reading

3. All About Reading & All About Spelling

My dyslexic son is doing well with All About Reading at a slower pace.   We are able to go at his pace.

Colleen has homeschooled four children, each with different learning styles.  Speaking about All About Reading, she continues, 

Physically moving the letter tiles, my son can now see that the ending or beginning sounds stay the same.  He was thrilled when he was able to read a story from the reader. I think that boosted his confidence that he will be able to conquer this struggle.  

Colleen Webster, homeschool mom of 4, dyslexia and ADHD

Dyslexia Resource Library

More Orton-Gillingham Homeschool Reading Curriculum Choices

The Orton-Gillingham method is systematically designed to support children with dyslexia and other reading learning disabilities.  Here are just a few more recommendations that you may want to consider when teaching your struggling reader.

Beckye Barnes offered these suggestions.

She recommends several programs for struggling readers.  Each of these employ the Orton-Gillingham method and start at the foundations of phonemic awareness.  If you have a struggling reader, she recommends checking out any of the following programs:

Beckye also recommends two online supplements Nessy and Teach Your Monster to Read as they are also based in the science of reading. 
my kid hates writing, homeschool help

Here are some other homeschool reading curriculum choices that Crystal and Kara have found helpful in their homeschools.  Both ladies have children who learn differently, from autism, adhd to language processing speed.  

Misc. Homeschool Language Arts 

4. Collections Close Reader 

I like Collections Close Reader for 6-7 Language Arts. My girl hates reading, listening, writing, etc. and this has collections of short stories.  There are short questions and vocabulary sprinkled throughout the stories. It can be done in small chunks even if a student can’t finish a whole short story.

Crystal, homeschool mom of 2,  Autism 

5. Rod and Staff Grammar

Kara, a homeschool mom of two adopted sons with multiple learning challenges, offers her favorite grammar curriculum.

For grammar we love Rod and Staff for GrammarI like that it’s traditional and gives clear examples. 

I love that they include sentence diagramming and start it early.  It really forces kids to learn the parts of speech and how to use them.  This is something I wish I had learned earlier as a kid.  I really only learned them through taking Latin. 

She continues by emphasizing the bite-sized approach that is often helpful for kids with executive functioning issues.

I also like that they give short exercises that are to the point, not just busywork. I also like the teacher’s manual- it gives easy to understand examples and uses concrete things within my kids’ realms of experience.

Kara, homeschool mom of 2 adopted sons, ADHD, Aspergers, Sensory Processing Issues

6. Classical Academic Press- Writing & Rhetoric

Kara continues about her favorite writing curriculum for her boys.

We love Classical Academic Press’ Writing and Rhetoric. It seems more comprehensive and we can go at our own pace, which right now is important.  If we cannot finish an entire one in a day, we can break lessons into two smaller ones. It’s concrete, but also allows my kids to think about things in depth, but in smaller chunks they can process. 

Kara points out that her son will often write long, involved “paragraphs” with tons of words, but without any cohesive meaning.

Writing and Rhetoric is forcing him to use the concept and main ideas of the stories to create his own.  It gives him a good example of appropriate length and level of detail.   Being able to cut lessons down and spread them out keeps them focused while  working in-depth, with good quality. 

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet

Two of My Homeschool Language Arts Curriculum Choices

7. Christian Light Homeschool Language Arts

Christian Light Language Arts is a program that tends to lie low in it’s advertising, but it packs a mighty punch.  I was introduced to CL several years ago after teaching my children how to read.  This was a godsend for a number of reasons.

This homeschool curriculum is:

  • Student-driven: It’s written for the student to work through on their own.  There are small check boxes throughout each lesson to guide the student.  Who doesn’t love to mark off checkboxes?  (Wait?  Is that just me?)

 

  • Small Chunks of Teaching:  Each grade level is broken into 10 smaller workbooks which allow kids to have small attainable goals throughout the year.  Kids love to “finish” each workbook.  This helps with motivation.

 

  • Complete:  Once your child is reading, this program can stand alone for several years.  Includes grammar (with simple sentence diagramming beginning in second grade), spelling, vocabulary, and penmanship.

 

Note that I absolutely love teaching English grammar.  Christian Light does an EXCELLENT and thorough job of teaching English grammar in a way that is not overwhelming.

Homeschool ADHD Cheat Sheet

What Is the Best Homeschool Curriculum?

If the ultimate goal is long-term learning, it only makes sense to use materials that will support each child (and family) best.   Like all things, however, no homeschool curricula is perfect.  A resource may be an excellent fit for one season, but not another.  This is to be expected as kids grow.  

When it isn’t working, feel the freedom to pivot in order to best educate your unique child.   While you are planning, grab a copy of the Homeschool 101 Planning Guide below.  I’ve included some of the questions I ask homeschool coaching clients to create targeted plans for their unique children.  

What would be on your best homeschool curriculum list?  

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.

Six Ways We Make Spelling Easy
Logic of English Tree
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homeschool planning guide
Growth Mindset For Moms Raising Kids With ADHD & Autism

Growth Mindset For Moms Raising Kids With ADHD & Autism

Moms Need A Parenting Growth Mindset

Friend, I am convinced that all moms need a parenting growth mindset.  For the sake of our kids, we need to shift our mindset.  Think about it.  Many of us enter parenthood believing we are going to be the perfect parent.  

“I will never let my child co-sleep.  That is not a healthy sleeping habit.”

Or, you may have been on the other end of that one.

“I will definitely co-sleep.  Attachment parenting is the only way to go.”

This is a good one.

“When I have kids, my child will never talk back to me.”

It gets better.

“What is wrong with these parents?  I will never tolerate that attitude with my kid.”

Girl, I can’t lie.  Some of those were totally me.  Ugh.  Please tell me you can relate.  Please.  Just lie to me.  

Parenting Growth Mindset For Moms

by Lindsay Lieviska | A Heart For All Students

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you which allows me to continue offering as much free content as possible. I appreciate your support.

Moms Growing Together 

Ok.  In all seriousness, there is no judgment for any of us.  We mommas are all just people doing the best we can with what we know at any one given time.  Here is the deal though.  Whether you’ve believed one of the above or something else, we all grow as parents.  

We change as we learn.  Being a mom is a process.  And it’s so freeing when we finally realize and EMBRACE that there is a heck of a lot we do not know. 

grace for moms raising kids with adhd & autism

Moms Need a Parenting Growth Mindset 

What is a growth mindset?  

Growth mindset as a term was coined by Carol Dweck, PhD.  Basically Dweck explains a growth mindset as one that sees:

  • challenges as opportunities, 
  • obstacles to be overcome,
  • criticism as learning lessons,
  • and ultimately the general sense that we are not “stuck” in any one position forever…

She focuses her efforts on equipping children with an understanding that they can succeed and that they are only limited by their beliefs.

While Dr. Dweck’s work has been primarily geared towards the educational system, all people are impacted greatly based upon their mindset.

She points to the great difference in life outcomes for those who have a fixed (I can change nothing mindset) or a growth mindset.

Clearly, we can see how our beliefs about ourselves and those around us, can radically impact the quality of our lives.

special needs moms, stress, exhaustion, encouragement

Raising ADHD or Autism?  Parenting Growth Mindset

Friend, it’s essential to the well-being of our neurodiverse children that moms embrace a parenting growth mindset.  

Are you parenting a child with ADHD?   

Does your child have Autism?  (For more about girls on the Autism Specturm- the overlooked and often misdiagnosed population, read this article from my friends at Autism Parenting Magazine.)

SPD?  APD?  GAD?   

Any acronym?

Or does your child simply struggle to fit in the box of the world’s expectations?

Do you wake in the middle of the night worried about your child’s future?

“What is going to happen to him?”

“Will she always struggle?”

Friend, I’ve been there.  And I have come to the conclusion that if we want our kids to avoid a bleak future,  we mommas may want to rally together to make a change.  

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

Parenting Growth Mindset vs Parenting Fixed Mindset

Fortunately, we moms tend to get to the point where we settle in to the fact that we are not God.   As we embrace the reality that we are not in control of everything nor everyone, we have some choices to make. 

A fixed parenting mindset tells us to dig our heels in the sand when our kids don’t fall in line.  When those little people living under our roof dare to be different, we do everything we can to force those kids to get in line.  

“Nope.  He will learn to obey right away because that is what my parents expected of me.”

From experience I know where that leads.  This often leads us to broken relationship and a whole lot of stress.

The growth parenting mindset allows us to sway with the winds of unmet expectations.  It frees us to see our struggles with our kids as not personal failures, but as opportunities to grow.

parenting growth mindset adhd & autism mom

My own journey to a parenting growth mindset

My hubby and I adopted a baby boy 6 years ago.  His transition into our family was relatively smooth.  

That is, until he hit 18 months.  It was then that his uncontrollable behaviors began to destroy our home and our family.   

This was the lowest and most desperate season of my life and in parenting.  

The isolation and shame.

I felt overwhelming guilt for my two biological daughters who had lost their mom.  They found themselves living in a war zone within their home.

Humiliation and depression suffocated me for several years.  My husband and my girls suffered greatly every day.  

The internal dialogue in my own momma head did not help one bit.  I truly believed that life was over.  

Except it wasn’t.

parenting growth mindset adhd & autism mom

Mercy Triumphs

Friend, God used this season of absolute HELL to radically change the way I see everything and everyone.  

As we sought help for my boy, I learned from incredible pediatric specialists.  Ultimately, we found some answers for my son. 

And I found answers I didn’t know I was searching for.  You see, I was forced to acknowledge my need for outside help.  I entered Christian counseling and faced my own internal junk.  

God used the agony to chip away at some boulders that had been holding me hostage for years.  

Let me cut to the chase.  

Black & White Thinking Can Destroy Our Kids

I had been stuck in black and white thinking that labeled a child’s outward obedience as the ultimate sign of a good Christian momma.   For decades I had been believing that something was true without ever having examined it.  By God’s mercy, He used another baby boy to offer more freedom to me and my family.

In this journey, I have learned so much about His design of the brain and His heart for the broken.  

He looks at the heart and sees in each of us who He designed us to be… even when we mess up.  In His grace, God allowed me the opportunity to develop a parenting growth mindset.  And I am so grateful.

parenting growth mindset adhd autism

Parenting growth mindset saved my kids

Developing a parenting growth mindset has been key to the progress we have made with our precious boy. 

Even more, it transformed my relationship with my biological daughters.  Honestly, I believe it has saved their lives.

When we adopted our boy, we had no idea that our daughters needed their mom to develop a parenting growth mindset.  For one of my girls in particular this soon became apparent.

For years, I tried to make her into a social butterfly like her older sister.

  • I didn’t understand why she was so “shy.”  
  • I worried about her heightened-sensitivity level.  
  • Why did she hang on the outskirts when we would get together with friends for play dates?

I tried to “fix” her so that she could be “happy and healthy.”

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

Mental Health Crisis Hamster Wheel

When we’re willing to examine our beliefs about how we approach our outside-the-box kids, we open the door to hope. 

Adopting a parenting growth mindset that seeks to find the strengths in each of our children offers an alternative to:

‘What’s wrong with me?’

‘I always screw up.’

‘The teacher is mad at me again.’

‘My mom is always disappointed in me.  Why can’t I get it together?’

‘The noise was just too much and I couldn’t handle it. I’m so stupid.’

‘I cannot focus in a room full of other kids.’

‘What is wrong with me?’

How many more kids have to scream for help through drug-abuse, cutting, suicide, eating disorders, before we take a good look at this one-size-fits all system that is FAILING so many children?

Moms willing to examine unhealthy expectations

Friend, moms need to feel safe within community in order to best serve our kids.  So many of us have kids who don’t fit in the box of the world’s expectations.  What’s devastating is that so many of these expectations are never even questioned.

And yet we can easily spend our fleeting time of influence trying to force our kids to conform to these unexamined and unhealthy expectations.   The end result?  Broken relationship between parent and child and, ultimately, hurting adult children.

It’s time to make a change for the sake of our children.  Don’t ya think?

Parenting growth mindset frees us and our kids

When we develop a parenting growth mindset, we become moms living in freedom.  The parenting peanut-gallery commentators lose their power.  We feel confident to care less for what the “experts” say if it is going to destroy our children.

These years matter. What our kids believe about themselves matters so let’s examine the beliefs that are influencing how we raise them.   Let’s do this differently for the sake of our kids.  Together, one mom at a time.  Be encouraged and grab a copy of the Free 5 Day Devotional for the Weary Christian Momma.  

You’ll receive a beautiful devotional prayer journey and I’ll meet you in your inbox for 5 days of video teaching.  Find out how the Gospel and neuroscience require us mommas to examine the traditional parenting framework.  Find freedom to parent your unique child in a whole new way.

You’ll be so encouraged!  Join me?  

Devotional Christian Special Needs Mom

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. If you do end up purchasing any of the recommended items through this link, I may receive a small commission at no cost to you. I appreciate your support.