Learning Games to Stimulate the Brain

When your child has been diagnosed with autism, ADHD, and other conditions that affect children, you may be wondering what you can do at home to help your child. You will soon learn the importance of a routine that is structured and provides everything your child needs. However, when you have the opportunity, it would be beneficial to perform one of these learning games to stimulate your child's brain and encourage learning.


When your child is young, it is important to teach them numbers. There are many ways to squeeze numbers in your daily life because numbers are all around. One way to get numbers in your life is to count the animals, flowers, cars, or buildings on your way to school. Count them out loud with your child so he or she will see the number of something, hear the numbers with you, and count them over every day then this will create self confidence in counting and learning their numbers.


You don't have to wait until your child is in school to teach them to write. They can learn to write as soon as they can grasp a pencil. When writing, it takes a considerable amount of brain power to make it work and to create the right lettering, stay in the lines, be coordinated, and more. You can help your child be creative, express themselves more, and be able to communicated when they may struggle otherwise.

Song and dance

When your child is up and moving to music, they can learn anything as long as you put it to rhythm. If you don't have a radio to play music, clap your hands to keep rhythm, dance around, create a drum beat with wooden spoons, and more. You can sing your ABC's, 123's, or learn about colors.

It's important that your child doesn't find stimulation in television shows unless you limit the amount of television time they have. Too much television can be non-stimulating and can lead to an addiction to television. This creates less time to move around.

You can also make cookies with your child. Measuring ingredients and placing them into the bowl one at a time in a certain way will stimulate the brain and create games that are fun for your child. It's important that your child enjoy learning in order to create a positive learning environment.

It doesn't matter where you are and what you are doing, you can always create a game and stimulate the brain; pick up sticks, pick up toys in the room, eating breakfast, walking in the city, going to the park, driving to school, and more. When you go to the grocery store, there are so many different games you could play that will help you stimulate the brain and help them to learn. Having children is a pleasure so enjoy activities that are not only educative but also fun for both of you.

For the latest videos and training information on child development as well as books and curricula on Autism please visit childdevelopmentmedia.com.

The Classical Education Model

Touted to be the return to a proven method of past centuries, the Classical Educational Model is gaining in popularity among homeschooling parents. The model is characterized by exposure to history, art, culture, languages, philosophy, and literature of Western Civilization. With a Christian emphasis (it also concentrates on the development of a biblical view of the world and Theology is considered to be the queen of sciences), the core of this model is the Trivium, which tailors curriculum subject matter to a child's cognitive development.

The Trivium is based on three levels, or stages of teaching and learning based on the age and ability of the child. The goals of the Trivium are Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric.

Grammar Level

This stage is the based on concrete learning. In Bloom's taxonomy, this is considered to be the base of the learning pyramid. In this stage, rote memorization is the emphasis. Many public school systems call this "kill and drill." The idea is for kids to learn the vocabulary, rules, and basics first. This level is recommended for the elementary ages of children.

During this stage, children are taught Art, Bible, Geography, History, Literature, Math, Music, Oratory, Science, and Writing.

Dialectic Level

Also considered to be the analytical thinking and understanding stage, this is recommended for the middle school age kids.

The student learns to reason and to string isolated ideas together.

During this stage, students are taught more in-depth concepts in Art, Bible, History, Literature, Math, Music, Oratory, Science, and Writing. Language, Logic, and Government are introduced at this time.

Rhetoric Level

This is where abstract thinking and self-expression come in. It is recommended for the high school years.

During this stage, students take all that they have learned and develop the ability to apply that knowledge to abstract ideas. Rhetoric and Philosophy are added to the studies while Government and Logic receive less concentration.

On a side note, history is taught throughout all stages in four year cycles. Repeating the cycle allows for further understanding as the child's cognitive development advances.

This model can be explained in layman's terms by likening it to the process in which a baby learns to speak. A child first learns sounds, vocabulary, and simple sentences. He then learns how to apply the rules of grammar in order to express more complete thoughts. Finally, the child learns to express opinions and more complex ideas.

The supporters of the Classical Education Model argue that the modern education system expects kids to master subjects before mastering the skill of learning. A bit like putting the cart before the horse?

If you are looking into more information on Classical Education Model or would like to know about some great homeschool conventions visit http://www.greathomeschoolconventions.com

Teaching Children to Read and Spell - Learning Objectives for the Teaching of First Six Sounds

When teaching children to read and spell in the early years the most effective method, `s recommended by all government reports of the last decade, is a 'synthetic phonics' approach combined with activities combined to promote phonemic awareness.

If parents are teaching their own children to read, write and spell at home they can choose an 'initial sound group' e.g. the sounds chosen in the popular phonics program Jolly Phonics. These sounds are s,a,t,i,p and n, with the letter sounds being taught rather than the letter names. This is because the word 'sat' for example can be 'sounded out' for reading and also spelling with the sounds are taught. Even just using this sound group children can quickly learn to read, write and spell words using just those letters e.g. tan, tin, pan, pat, sit, sat, at, in. With the introduction of a few 'tricky' words the children can be reading, writing and spelling whole sentences in no time- for example 'Is it a pin? No it is a pan'. Readers can be made so that the children are actually 'reading' books with illustrations. Many are available online for free not for profit organisations such as Fantastic Phonics and SPELD SA.

When parents know what their children need to know before they move on to learning new sound pics (letter sounds) the following list can help them, as a 'check list'. By using this list parents can ensure that the child has understood the important concepts and are able to demonstrate the skills required for early reading and spelling acquisition ie code knowledge, blending, phoneme segmenting and manipulation.

When children can decode a word they can then start to learn its meaning. Fluency, comprehension and vocabulary come after decoding. If a child can't work out the word (ie read the word) he can't begin to understand it within sentences. So parents should focus first on teaching children how to decode and then expand on their teaching to include fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. However as can be seen from the following list this can happen very quickly, and these additional skills (fluency, vocabulary and comprehension) be incorporated into teaching alongside phonics and phonemic awareness training.

At the end of the initial sound group children should be;

* 'hearing' sounds in words - beginning, middle end

* recognising letter sounds in print - and knowing what (oral) sound they correspond with.

* forming letters correctly (this is arguably less as important as the other concepts, before they start school as they can 'spell' words and form sentences using magnetic letters etc.)

* blending sounds orally into words- and as they sound words on paper (knowing they do this from left to right)

* 'reading' words by decoding from left to right- and blending the sounds into words- also exploring what the word means and how we use it in our language.

* 'spelling words by listening for sounds in order - and (the next step) knowing how to order / blend them on paper (using letters and also by forming the letters themselves - can use a pencil and also keyboard with lower case letters)

* 'reading' the words (sat, it, at, in, pin, tin, sit, pat, nip, spin, tan etc) and then comprehending the meaning of the word and sentence if the words are written within a sentence (and in this case knowing that we read the words from left to right)

* learning some 'tricky' words eg 'I' 'was' 'the' - to recognise as sight words

They will also be able to read sentences - using decodable readers in line with this sound groups (also initial sound group in Jolly Phonics.)

What next?

If ready they can be moved on to digraphs - learning that 2 or more sounds can make a new sound (s, h and sh- 3 sounds) You could use bolded text to show children where the 'chunks' are in words- or 'Sound Pics'. So shop would be shown as having 3 sounds and 3 sound pics- sh+o+p.

After the first sound group children can move on to learn that sounds in our spoken language can be represented in several ways ( f could be ff as in gruff, ph as in phone etc)
And that some sounds on paper can represent more than one sound in our language- ow- as in cow or as in tow.

Parents should focus very much on auditory discrimination at first- rather than whats on paper. When we start with what the children know how to do- ie to speak - then it is easier for them to understand how to crack the code. when encouraged to hear the sounds in words, and to know where they are placed then it is easier for children to then learn that there are 'sound pics' that are simply pictures of the sounds in their words. So 's' is simply a representation on paper of the sound 's', and why we call them 'Sound pics'. Even early on children can learn to hear how many sounds are in words, even if they have not yet been introduced to the pic. For example to hear that 'ship' has 3 sounds and therefore would have 3 sound pics. You would then draw 3 lines on paper and the children can work out which sound pic sits on which line to build the word.

Teaching your child to read and spell early is one of the greatest gifts you can give to your child. It should be fun and help then to develop a love to learning and of words. The Reading Whisperer™ is often heard telling parents 'Being able to read and spell even before they start school will give them increased self-confidence, and they can start to 'read to learn' far earlier than most of the other children, who are still 'learning to read'."

What parent wouldn't want that for their child?

Emma Hartnell-Baker created 'Read Australia' in 2007 as a way to empower parents and carers and raise standards of reading and spelling across Australia. She is often referred to in the press as the Reading Whisperer for her passion for early reading and spelling achievement and for helping struggling readers teachers have given up on. The Reading Whisperer is dedicated to the prevention of reading and spelling difficulties is on the Advisory Board of 'Reading by Six within Australia; a panel of reading specialists and scientists across Australia committed to meeting the needs of every student.

Emma Hartnell-Baker BEd Hons. MA Special Educational Needs
'A Voice for Kids'

Unit Studies: The Solution for Homeschooling Multiple Children

The Problem: New home schooling families are often overwhelmed with just the idea of homeschooling all of their children at the same time. Some will begin homeschooling one child one year and adding another the following year. That, in itself can add the problem of having to plan your schedule around the school's schedule because at least one family member goes to school. One of the big benefits of homeschooling is to be together as a family and to schedule life around the home and the education of the children. If the family "brings school" home and sets up a school schedule with textbooks for each subject for each child, teaching multiple children in a family would be very tedious and overwhelming.

The Solution: Unit studies --- This is a method of study that allows most of the curriculum to center on a topic of interest to one or more members of family.

For example, in the state of Washington, the home school law delineates eleven required subjects for students K-8: Math, Reading, Writing, Grammar, Spelling, History, Social Studies, Health, Science, Occupational Education, Art/Music. If your state does not specify subjects or classifies them differently just modify your list. Most of these subjects can be covered well by using this method. Exceptions include: math, grammar and early reading skills. In those cases you would need curriculum that follow a "scope and sequence" - a list or chart that shows what will be covered and in what order. Since math builds on skills, order and practice are important. I would include these subjects in a unit study so that your children understand that knowledge and skills are not separate, but unified.

Steps in Forming a Unit Study:

1. Choose a subject. Keep in mind the longer you want to stay on a subject, the broader the topic.

2. Use a "Mind Map" or "Web' to brainstorm the different parts of the unit.

3. Based on # 2, decide how long to study this topic. For beginners and younger children, I would begin with a two-week unit study. Later, larger topics / longer studies may be planned. Older students could use this method and follow the scope and sequence of an American History book to "complete" this required high school subject with a series of unit studies.

4. Make a list of subjects and plan activities to cover each of the subjects.

5. Gather materials - personal library, public library, Internet, local attractions etc.

6. Evaluate - during longer studies, you should periodically evaluate what has been learned and what remains to learn. You may decide to shorten or lengthen the unit study.

7. End the Study with a Culminating Activity - this could be a notebook, video documentary, display or a play for Dad and other family or friends.

Homeschooling parents can use the unit study method to keep everyone learning about the same topic using age-appropriate materials you own or you can get from the library. While there are many products available that have ready-made unit studies, I personally like the flexibility of planning my own unit studies. In my opinion, aside from academic excellence, the greatest benefit of the unit study is building family unity.

Maggie Dail and her husband, Ronnie operate the Center for Neuro Development in Lakewood, Washington which is affiliated with Family Academy. They home schooled two foster sons and have worked with home schooling families for nearly 20 years. Maggie earned her M.A. in Special Education in 1989 and has taught for nearly 40 years. http://www.homeschoolhelps.com

Family Academy offers an online home school parent's course that includes more information about developing your own Unit Studies and much more: Able to Teach


Art Therapy Schools For Troubled Children

Kids in their teens can be really tough to handle. Most parents would just want to give up because they no longer know what they can do to control the behavior of their children until they came across art therapy schools that promises to help them understand their children and to help their children to understand the stage that they are going through. Sometimes the problem of parents will their children is really just a matter of lack of proper communication to help both parents and children understand each other and the point of view of where they are coming from. Most of the time, parents are scared to send their children out there to experience the real world while teenagers just want to experience the freedom and trust that they see adults enjoying.

Luckily for both parents and children, they can now enjoy the benefits of art therapy schools. The art school rankings compared to the regular schools are getting more and more popular among parents and teenagers not only because they receive the kind of therapy that they don't get from regular schools but they also learn more about themselves and discover more about the beauty of being children and parents. Ever since the world began, art has played a major role in keeping people together in harmony. Since people do not discuss art but rather enjoy it for its beauty, it has help communities survive tough times just because there is art.

Today, the world is celebrating the contribution of art therapy schools not only in enhancing the relationship of parents and their children but putting them in a place where the magic of art unites them. If you are a parent who is having a problem with your teenager, then the best solution is not to fight them over what they want to do. Instead, suggest alternative activities to what they are already used to. One of the activities that your teenagers can engage in is the arts. Their creativity and talent for the arts can be improved if they attend art therapy schools. More than that, if they are not aware that they have the eye for the arts, they will be able to discover it by attending the different art classes and that will have a great impact on their self confidence.

There is no denying that teens who have submitted themselves to taking art therapy classes have seen a great change in their attitude. Their art classes that teach them painting and drawing have taken so much of their time that they no longer spend the day thinking about their problems. Instead, they are able to use the arts to release the negative emotions that they have inside. These teenagers do not really need to be artists themselves before they can be enrolled in art therapy schools. In fact, these types of schools cater children who may not have linkages in the arts but who can find peace of mind in the arts.

Perhaps in the beginning you might think that the arts is just a hobby but the truth is that it comes with healing powers that help people keep up with the demands of the real world. This can especially help your teenagers face the world with more self confidence. The idea behind art therapy schools is for teens to produce great works of art but rather the schools help teens discover more about themselves. The focus is the process of art production and not the final product.

You can find more information about the Art Therapy Schools on my website and read its Art School Rankings for you to help in making the right decisions.

Modern Techniques Used To Home School Kids

Early Childhood Education

Early Childhood Education and Tracking Changes In Social and Emotional Maturation

Early childhood education is so important because it makes use of a child's natural learning ability. This is the time when their brains are exploding with growth and responding to the millions of pieces of information that are coming their way. Everything that comes their way is a new thing to learn about and make sense of so you can see just how powerful this time is for making sure that children are given the opportunity to learn things which will be constructive and positive for them. The brain is working overtime at this stage to organise, process and make sense of whatever is surrounding it. The richer and more consciously planned those environments are the better their chance of learning really useful things about everything. There are so many new links to make between things and so much neural activity needed to make connections and form new networks that a child's brain never stops while they are awake - and probably not while they are asleep either!

When the young child enters nursery and their more formal education begins - albeit in a far more unstructured, playful and fun way than they will have at 'big' school - they come with a certain amount of social and personal skills but nursery will be the place where they really start to hone these two skills in particular. Up to that point they have been interacting with a limited number of people like family and a few children of the same age but now they find themselves in a larger group and they have to transfer the skills they have learnt to this new situation. Friendship making and maintaining skills are amongst the most important they will learn for the rest of their lives so nurseries are strongly advised to help children experience and succeed in this friendship area as a big priority The child's brain is still soaking up information at a great rate at this stage in their lives and they will quickly learn how to manage well if they are supported well in this area. Coaching, encouragement and plenty of pleasant opportunities to find out what to do are what will make the biggest difference to them. That, and you modelling good friendship skills with other adults. They will copy what they see. All of this will help them refine their socialising skills, learn to share, develop their sense of humour and discover great coping strategies.

So where does tracking their changes come in? Having some kind of system in the nursery to make notes on a child's social and personal strengths is a very useful start. Children come in with very different temperaments and very different backgrounds - thus their ability to form friendships and manage their own emotional states will vary enormously. They more you tune into the areas where particular children shine and then use them as models for the others in the group to copy the better. It is even easier for them to copy a peer than to copy you so take advantage of the social 'stars' and intra-personally strong children who do manage their emotions well. If you have made preliminary notes on each child you can start to arrange games and teams/group activities so that children who are strong in these areas are teamed with children who are less strong. You can select certain non-competitive games to play which foster friendship making and make these a focus for the first two terms at least. In the third term you can revisit your initial notes and see just how many ways the children have matured socially and emotionally.

There are many checklists of social and emotional behaviours available in books on early childhood development and a special report on these behaviours has been compiled by the team at Assess Baseline and Track. Any of these would give you a starting point for your early notes which will then act as your baseline measure from which you will track progress.

If you want to know more about a strengths based and developmental approach to behaviour change and find out more about early childhood education, young people or adults please visit http://www.assess-baseline-track.com.